Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the “heartbeat” bill into law Tuesday morning.
Kemp kept his campaign promise in signing the bill, HB 481, technically called the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act,” which will prohibit abortions in the state after a heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The law allows exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger.
Before the signing of the bill, State Rep. Ed Setzler pointed to science, law, and the simple fact that common sense says a beating heart is a sign of life and those children should receive the full protection of the law. State Sen. Renee Unterman, a former nurse who ushered the bill through the state Senate, said she has waited her entire time as a legislator for this moment, calling it the “culmination of my political career.”
“Georgia is a state that values life,” Kemp said before putting his signature to the LIFE Act. “We stand up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.”
Kemp said he recognizes the bill will be challenged.
“But our job is to do what is right, not what is easy,” Kemp added. “We will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.”
Opponents have promised to sue over the constitutionality of the bill and argue that because some women don’t know they are pregnant when a heartbeat is detectable that the new law virtually bans all abortions in the state. It has been called the most extreme abortion law in the nation.
“This law is bafflingly unconstitutional. Bans like this have always been blocked by courts. We will be suing Georgia to make sure this law has the same fate,” Elisabeth Smith, Chief Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.
View this post on Instagram
Meanwhile in Georgia… Brian Kemp is an ugly, bald-faced lie. There are too many privatized prisons and criminalized poor to believe this crock of horse shit. The law doesn’t go into effect until 2020. Support ($$) the organizations who will be taking this to court this year. My body is not here to be a casualty in your political ploys to White Christian Evangelicals, Kemp. #UnfitChristian
Supporters trumpet the bill — similar to ones passed in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Iowa, and North Dakota — as protecting the constitutional right of unborn children and allowing pregnant mothers to collect child support payments from fathers.
The “heartbeat” bill will go into effect at the beginning of next year.
View this post on Instagram
This #socialworker believes in keeping abortion safe, legal, and rare, and is an out-loud advocate for women’s rights. Decisions about women’s bodies belong in the hands of women, with input from their private physicians and loved ones. ❤️ Today you may be feeling violated, as indeed the State of Georgia has violated your bodily autonomy and sovereignty. Laws like these touch upon the systemic traumas experienced by all women – not only traumas related to unwanted pregnancies, but to all traumas that have infringed upon the boundaries of our bodies. Laws like these, that say men like Gov Kemp should be able to make decisions about what happens to women’s bodies, contribute to a culture that does not honor or consider consent. ❤️ If this resonates, if you are feeling tender today (or enraged or afraid or any other emotion), know that your feelings are valid. This act is not ok, and we will continue the fight to undo it, and to uphold the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution and Roe v. Wade. Again. ❤️ Whether you connect with healing through advocacy and action, or through self-care and rest, your healing is important. Get it how you can. Reach out to others. Take care of your body. Hold space for the feelings that move through you. If it feels overwhelming, ask for help from friends or a therapist. ❤️ We are awake. We are angry. We are sovereign. We are voting.
The bill made national headlines recently when liberal activist and actress Alyssa Milano, who has been filming a Netflix comedy in Atlanta, made headlines when she marched into Kemp’s office with a letter last month to speak out on the “heartbeat bill.” The letter was signed by 50 celebrities who vowed to boycott the state, which has a burgeoning movie industry, if the bill was signed into law.
“It’s a historic day for Georgia, for Georgia families, and for those precious unborn babies,” Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, a co-sponsor of the bill, told “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning.
View this post on Instagram
I’m personally sick of people deciding what women can and can’t do, when 1) they aren’t one and 2) they don’t have a uterus. I’ve never experienced birth, but I have experienced a women who got one because she simply could not afford it. She was too young, she was alone, and she was low income. You can’t tell these women to put their children into the adoption system when there’s no room. The underlying cause is the government wanting to control all of their people. Women are not property. Women are supposed to be free. They fought for that. I’ll never not support a women who needs one. It’s not something anybody else but the pregnant women needs to decide for herself. If you don’t like abortions don’t get one. It’s easy. When you don’t like a certain store you don’t protest that it be closed, you simply don’t buy anything there. Stop dictating women’s decisions. It’s not the governments decision. #stopthebans#prochoice#briankemp
Photo Credit: ABC7 News