Georgia Heartbeat Bill Will Hurt


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Georgia State Capitol.

Matthew Welsh, Staff writer

Sometimes I question decisions. The recent political climate has led me to question even more decisions than usual and subsequently, the ethics of the individuals enabling those decisions.

There is a very likely chance that by May 12th, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp will have signed House Bill 481, also known as the “heartbeat bill,” into action. Kemp, who ran on a pro-life platform, supports the bill, which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, often around six weeks into pregnancy.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia has the highest maternal mortality rate of any state in our nation, and the Georgia Department of Health even found that 60% of those deaths were due to preventable causes.

Evidently, by forging a bill that would only increase the aforementioned statistics, Georgia’s legislators are actively trying to ensure that our state does not emerge from its mind-numbing cloud of conventional ideals. This bill practically denies women their right to access proper healthcare and overlooks potential health hazards for the women affected by it.

Abortions will still be performed but will become more expensive, more dangerous, and increasingly stigmatized among Georgia’s society. Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, summed the situation up well.

“A pregnant woman in Georgia has a higher chance of dying before or after they give birth than a mother in any other state. Instead of addressing our maternal mortality crisis, GOP legislators are playing politics, pushing draconian bills like HB 481,” said Abrams.

And I cannot help but draw parallels between our reality and the society portrayed in The Handmaid’s Tale, where women are violently stripped of their basic rights and subjected to sexual duties, effectively objectifying them and reducing their existence to nothing more than pawns in a scheme.

The measures taken in HB 481, although not as drastic, serve as a precursor for what may come in the future. Georgia has continually failed to address its maternal healthcare shortcomings, yet does actively inhibit hope for those who need it most.

And guess what? According to a 2017 state government report, 79 of Georgia’s 159 counties don’t contain even a single OB-GYN. It’s no surprise that doctors would not want to come to a state where their practices and the health of their patients are undermined by elected officials.

You can thank Governor Kemp, HB 481, and Georgia’s wave of other abortion restriction proponents for that. This bill follows similar legislation put in place in Kentucky and Ohio and precedes an extremely restrictive abortion bill proposed in Mississippi.

A quick reminder: if you don’t agree with this path, get out and vote.