By Itoro Umontuen
Following the Dobbs vs. Jackson Whole Women’s Health decision was handed down Friday morning by the United States Supreme Court, a patchwork of bans across the nation sprouted as the legality of abortion rested on the states after the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Currently, the State of Georgia is awaiting the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on allowing the Heartbeat Bill to go into effect.
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for legislation to make Roe the law of the land during her appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning.
“In Georgia in particular, in a matter of days, this six-week ban will be the law of the land. That is horrendous. That is appalling. And it is wrong. And, as the next governor, I’m going to do everything in my power to reverse it,” Abrams said Sunday.
Monday, the Democratic Party of Georgia discussed how it would move forward.
Democratic candidate for Attorney General Jen Jordan pledged she would fight the abortion law, citing the state’s explicit and stringent privacy laws. In 1903, Georgia became the first state to recognize a common law right of privacy, including the appropriation branch of that tort. It also recognizes a common law right of publicity.
“There is absolutely a viable path in terms of challenging the law under the Georgia constitution,” Jordan explained. “And quite frankly, that’s basically what the Supreme Court has said that we need to do. But really, this is about state law. This is about the state constitution and it’s about the voters in the state of Georgia and putting it in their hands.”
Shortly after the Dobbs decision, Attorney General Chris Carr issued a statement requesting the 11th Circuit to allow the bill to become law:
“I believe in the dignity, value and worth of every human being, both born and unborn. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs is constitutionally correct and rightfully returns the issue of abortion to the states and to the people – where it belongs. We have just filed a notice in the 11th Circuit requesting it reverse the District Court’s decision and allow Georgia’s Heartbeat Law to take effect.”Attorney General Chris Carr
Currently, abortion is legal in Georgia up to twenty weeks. When House Bill 481 was passed in 2019, it would ban abortion after six weeks, which is generally when heartbeat activity is detectable. The legislation also defines “personhood.” According to lines 43-45:
“Modern medical science, not available decades ago, demonstrates that unborn children are a class of living, distinct persons and more expansive state recognition of unborn children as persons did not exist when Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and Roe v. Wade (1973) established abortion related precedents;”
“The first step is making sure that women get the care that they need today, whether that is right here in the state of Georgia, where abortion is still available, or whether that is helping them find where they can go to find out where care is available,” said U.S. Representative and Democratic Party Chair of Georgia, Nikema Williams.
Representative Williams says her goal is to make sure that women get care when they need it.
“Because what we know is no two pregnancies are the same,” Williams explained. “And there’s no one size fits all model. And so women need to be able to get the care that they need when they need it. And also one in four women by the age of 45 will seek abortion care. That’s not one in four Republican women, not one in four Democratic women. That’s one in four women. And so we know that access needs to be available, and women need to be able to get the care that they need, or people will die. And so that’s why we’re continuing to not just look at this as a voting mechanism.”
Monday morning, a Louisiana judge temporarily blocked the state’s abortion ban, pending a July 8th hearing in a New Orleans civil district court.
Meanwhile, Jordan says the voting mechanisms are important because the authors of Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill are currently legislators inside the State Capitol.
“This is really about state elections right now,” Jordan said. “That is where the battle is. So while there are things on the federal level that we’re dealing with and trying to push as [Congresswoman Williams] said, at the end of the day, the Supreme Court has sent it back home to us. And so if people are outraged, if people are scared and people want something different, then they have to vote. We have no other avenue except for people getting out voting and changing the people that are in these offices. Because quite frankly, the people that are in these offices are why we’re here in the first place.”
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