Once fetal cardiac activity is detected, the law allows expectant mothers to file for child support to cover the costs of pregnancy and delivery, and it requires state officials to count an unborn child toward Georgia’s population in census counts. It also expands the definition of “natural person” to “any human being including an unborn child” at any stage of development and grants rights to an embryo or fetus, called “personhood” provisions.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed Georgia’s abortion law in 2019, but the courts blocked it until last month. Many state agencies said in the days after the law took effect that they had not determined how to implement the “personhood” provisions.
Activists on both sides of the abortion debate began speculating in December that the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, after analyzing oral arguments made about an abortion law in Mississippi.
A draft copy of the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe was leaked in May, setting the stage for the inevitable final decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that was made in late June. Last month, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its order, allowing Georgia’s law to take effect.