Georgia’s criminalization of abortion has colossal consequences

Georgia

Southeast / Georgia 17 Views

This March 22, 2019, file photo shows, pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion demonstrators displaying their signs in the lobby of the Georgia State Capitol building during the 35th legislative day at the Georgia State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta. Bucking intense opposition from abortion rights groups, citizens, physicians groups and even Hollywood celebrities, Georgia lawmakers gave final approval Friday, March 29th, to a “heartbeat” abortion ban that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state. Republican Gov. Brian P. Kemp signed the bill into law last Tuesday. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

Tuesday, Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp signed House Bill 481 into law making abortions illegal in the state after six weeks gestation and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020. However, the fallout from the bill will have far-reaching ramifications that weren’t imagined… until now. Statistics say one in four women will have an abortion before the age of 45 according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute.

According to provisions in the bill, a woman who travels out-of-state for an abortion — and anyone who assists her in any form or fashion — will be charged with conspiracy to commit murder under Georgia’s fetal personhood law. In other words, one can conclude a fetus is an American citizen and therefore is subject to the laws thereunto and pertaining. As Washington and Lee associate professor Carliss Chatman pontificated on twitter, “Is that also when you can’t deport the mother because she’s carrying a US citizen? Can I insure a 6 week fetus and collect if I miscarry?”

However, a six-week embryo cannot survive outside of the mother. One would believe the GOP would consider that fact while drawing up this bill.

Secondly, prosecutors can charge women whose pregnancies end in miscarriage with murder, which carries a sentence of 10 to 30 years, if they can prove the miscarriage was a result of “the woman’s own conduct,” like drug or alcohol use. Hypothetically, if a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, that can potentially kill the mother as well as the embryo, it’s conceivable the mother can be charged with murder.

A doctor would tell a far-right leaning Conservative that re-implanting an ectopic embryo is medically and scientifically impossible, even if said Conservative believes in the Immaculate Conception. It’s not a thing.

There are examples already taking place. In 2013, Purvi Patel, stated that she had a miscarriage and was carrying a stillborn baby. Patel went to the emergency room with heavy bleeding. She eventually admitted to miscarrying a stillborn fetus, and was later sentenced to 20 years in prison for neglect of a dependent and feticide in 2015.

Sixteen year old Rennie Gibbs of Mississippi gave birth to her daughter, Samiya. As soon as Samiya entered the world, she died because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. In November 2006, the medical examiner concluded that byproducts of cocaine were in Gibbs’s blood and was indicted in 2007 with “depraved heart murder” which is defined under Mississippi law as an act “eminently dangerous to others…regardless of human life.” The judge sided with Gibbs and the case was dismissed.

At six weeks, the size of the embryo is a pea. The “heartbeat” is the vibrations of electrical activity in the yolk sac. There is not an actual heart beating inside of the embryo.

Surely, Republicans and the religious right did not think this all the way through. Their lobbyists told them this was a good idea because U.S. President Donald J. Trump now has Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court and it’s their best chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Next, women that choose to perform their own abortions outside of a formal medical setting can be charged with first-degree murder, which could carry a sentence of up to life in prison or the death penalty. As State Representative Ed Seltzer said, in an op-ed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,  “HB-481 is unlike any other ‘heartbeat bill’ in the nation by establishing the legal personhood of the unborn child.”

In addition, fetuses can be claimed as dependents for tax purposes and gentlemen would be responsible for child support as soon as life is detected. Explicitly, “the full value of a child begins at the point when a detectable human heartbeat exists.” In other words, at the instance of a missed period and a positive pregnancy test, child support payments would be due at the first of every month.

David Simon, creator of HBO’s “The Wire” and operator of Blown Deadline Productions,  Christine Vachon chief executive of Killer Films and Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions have been demonized because they chose to stop operations until the new abortion law is overturned in Georgia. Actress Alyssa Milano went one step further and said she’s going on a sex strike. Although on its basis, denying men of sex is not going to solve this problem. Most Conservatives and the religious right do not want non-married women engaging in recreational sex. Meanwhile, Georgia’s film and entertainment industry brought an estimated $2.7 billion in 2018 while filming 455 productions in our state.

Surely, Georgia’s GOP considered the economy while debating the merits of House Bill 481, right?

“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families. It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or currently being challenged,” the Motion Picture Arts Association (MPAA) said in a statement. “The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.”

It appears the MPAA and Netflix (who have yet to formally comment), are hinging their hopes on the American Civil Liberties Union and other legal advocates to overturn the law. In the meantime, their silence is cringe-worthy.

House Bill 481 was championed by conservatives who are more obsessed with the “right to life” than the “quality of life.” To go one step further, in the GOP’s insatiable desire to overturn Roe v. Wade has really caused them to “step in it.” For a party that loves to shout everyone should have the right to be free, their behavior is not emblematic of ensuring freedom. It’s a gateway to mass incarceration of women. Moreover, the level of prenatal care and racial bias that black women suffer from pales in comparison to their white counterparts. Black mothers die at a rate that’s 3.3 times greater than whites, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vice President Mike Pence, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and many white men inside of the Republican Party do not understand the basic biology of the human body, more specifically, a woman’s body! The outrage will continue and those ramifications will be felt until Georgia is no longer the number one state to do business.

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