I am a mother and recently became a grandmother to a brand-new granddaughter. My daughter is an amazing mother — by choice.
All of us should recognize that it is the women who take on the burdens of the miscarriages, the abortions, the surgeries, the chemotherapy, the hormones, the medications, the many medical interventions that result in the families we love. No one should presume to force any woman to take on this life-altering and sometimes life-threatening responsibility.
If Gov. Brian Kemp signs the abortion ban bill – and let’s be clear, that is what it is – my daughter and granddaughter would experience a Georgia that is very different than the Georgia I have known. They would experience a Georgia without reproductive freedom, a Georgia without the right to choose when and whether to start a family This would take Georgia backwards nearly 50 years to a dangerous time.
Georgia has been a leader in expanding Constitutional rights. Georgia did not defy orders to desegregate schools and colleges. We didn’t have violent resistance to integration. My parent’s friend, the late Margie Pitts Hames, argued the Georgia companion case to Roe v. Wade, successfully. The annual PRIDE Parade brings folks to Atlanta from all over Georgia and the world.
We have a thriving international community and robust international trade. We are a global business destination. We are a leader in global health and development – the Carter Center, the CDC, CARE, our hospitals, medical schools, and research facilities. We attract the brightest students from all of the world, and our state is home to women’s colleges that are among the best in the nation. Women run our law firms, our colleges and universities, our governments, and are top leaders in our companies.
But today’s young women can only thrive in a state that protects their most basic rights - the right to choose when and whether to start a family. Georgia can’t afford to go backwards on women’s health and rights.
How bad would an abortion ban be for Georgia’s economy? We brought the Olympics to Georgia in 1996 and the Super Bowl this year – promoting our state as a beacon of progress. Recently, the world watched Georgia once again, as the Masters Golf Tournament brought in influential leaders from around the world. If the governor signs this bill, business leaders will not continue to see Georgia as a state seeking to lead in the 21st century.
The ball is in Gov. Kemp’s court, now.
Andrea Young is executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.