Georgia Democrats push measures to allow abortions in any instance

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Democrats filed identical bills in each chamber of the General Assembly that seek to repeal Georgia’s 2019 abortion law and add the right to the procedure to the state code.

Georgia law prohibits most abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, which is typically about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many know they are pregnant. Previously, Georgia allowed most abortions up until about 22 weeks of pregnancy. This proposal would not put any restrictions on when the procedure could be performed.

Flanked by dozens of lawmakers and activists, state Sen. Sally Harrell and state Rep. Shea Roberts, both Atlanta Democrats, introduced their bills Tuesday, two days after the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion. The nation’s high court reversed the 1973 ruling last year.

“No matter our age, race, income or where we live, we all want the right and resources to make our own decisions about whether, when and how we’ll build our families,” Roberts said. “We want to raise our families with dignity.”

The long-shot legislation, SB15 and HB75, would allow unemancipated minors to get abortions without parental consent if notifying a parent might lead to physical or emotional harm and remove restrictions in the 2019 law such as a “personhood” provision that grants rights to a zygote or embryo from conception. The bills also would write into state law that “every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry the pregnancy to term or have an abortion.”

Abortion rights advocates and providers have challenged Georgia’s law, saying it violates the state constitution’s right to privacy. The Georgia Supreme Court is expected to consider the challenge later this year.

Though Republican legislative leadership has said there are no plans to further restrict abortion while the challenge of the law works its way through the court system, some anti-abortion lawmakers and activists say they plan to push legislation that would ban all abortions.