ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The Georgia House voted Friday in favor of the controversial abortion bill, nicknamed the “Heartbeat Bill”. The legislation now heads to the desk of Governor Brian Kemp, who has vowed to sign it into law.
Following the Georgia House of Representatives final passage, Kemp issued the following statement:
"Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage. Our efforts to protect life do not end here. We must work to ease the adoption process, find loving homes for those in our foster care system, and protect the aging and vulnerable. Together, we will ensure that all Georgians are safe and have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper.”
House Bill 481 would ban most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks of gestation. Women in Georgia can currently seek an abortion up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy. The bill makes exceptions in the case of rape and incest, but only when the woman files a police report first, as well as when a fetus is deemed not compatible with life.
The Senate’s version passed by a 34-18 vote last Friday, but the changes approved by the Senate had to be approved and reconciled in the House.
Both sides have been making their voices heard at the State Capitol throughout the process.
“I believe that humanity supersedes choice,” said Jessica Daniel with Georgia Life Alliance. “So the human being inside of us is above that choice for abortion.
Opponents are concerned that the bill will not stop abortions in Georgia, just force women to seek unsafe, illegal procedures.
In response to the passage of the bill in the House, ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young released the following statement to FOX 5:
"If Gov. Kemp signs this abortion ban bill into law, the ACLU has one message: we will see you in court.Georgia has one of the worst maternal death rates in the nation. Black women in Georgia have a maternal death rate of more than three times the unacceptably high rate for white women. “This bill further erodes the health and well-being of Georgia’s women and reveals a callous disregard for their well-established Constitutional rights.”
Similar measures are moving through legislatures in Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, and South Carolina.