Georgia bill would allow those seeking abortions to opt out of counseling, viewing ultrasound

A Georgia Democratic lawmaker has proposed legislation that would make it easier for those seeking abortions to undergo the procedure.

The proposal from state Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, takes aim at the "Women's Right to Know Act" that requires those seeking an abortion to take a series of steps — including undergoing an ultrasound and receiving state-approved information, then waiting 24 hours after the counseling is given to undergo the procedure — before terminating a pregnancy.

Kendrick’s bill would allow women to choose to bypass the requirements, which she says are designed to delay abortions.

She said she filed House Bill 746 in response to the General Assembly last year passing a law that prohibits abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity — typically around six weeks of pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.

The law is being challenged in court. A judge last year temporarily blocked it from taking effect while the case makes its way through the legal system.

“If the argument is that women should know they are pregnant by six weeks, I don’t know why they should have any impediments to abortion,” Kendrick said.

Chances of Kendrick’s proposal passing this year are unlikely. Legislative leadership has said it doesn’t intend to consider abortion legislation while last year’s law is being debated in court.