Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill” outlaws abortion after 6 weeks

Georgia's new proposal restricts abortions after embryonic fetal cardiac activity can be detected, around 6 weeks for the average pregnancy.

Madeline James, Sports Editor & Columnist

On May 7, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed HB 481 into effect. The bill prevents doctors from performing an abortion after “embryonic or fetal cardiac activity” can be detected, according to NBC News. For most pregnancies, this is around 6 weeks’ gestation. The bill would also give a fetus the same rights in the state of Georgia as a fully formed human. The law is set to go into effect in January 2020. Speaking Tuesday morning in support of the bill, Governor Kemp stated that “Georgia is a state that values life… we protect the innocent, we champion the vulnerable, we stand up and speak for those that are unable to speak for themselves”.

Georgia’s heartbeat bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, according to NBC. The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights have already intended on challenging the law in court. In 2019, there have been over 250 state bills introduced with the intent of restricting abortion access in the U.S., according to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood. Similar “heartbeat bills” were introduced in Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi this year.

Some film production companies in Georgia have reacted strongly against the bill, and several prominent faces within the industry have pledged to discontinue work within the state if the bill turns into a law. Actress Alyssa Milano spoke against the bill, stating that “we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if HB 481 becomes law” in a letter sent to the governor and Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston. According to Kemp, the film industry in Georgia brings in billions of revenue and employs around 200,000 Georgians.

Georgia has a number of restrictions for women seeking abortions already in place, including minors being required to notify their parents before proceeding with an abortion, and a 24-hour wait period between requesting and obtaining an abortion.