On Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp essentially outlawed abortion in his state by signing the so-called “fetal heartbeat bill” into law. The law bans abortion once a fetal “heartbeat” (not really a heartbeat, more on that later) is detectable, or at around five to six weeks. State Rep. Ed Setzler praised the bill and, as per CBS, said a pre-schooler would call an embryo at six weeks a baby. No offense to pre-schoolers, but they’re not exactly experts on women’s reproductive health.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights plan on challenging the law, as it violates the abortion rights protected under Roe v. Wade. High-profile members of the entertainment industry (which reportedly generates over $60 billion of the state’s economic activity) have already signed a petition vowing to boycott working in Georgia if the law is enacted. Fifteen other states have had similar bills introduced in 2019. Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have had theirs signed into law by their governors, though CBS writes that none of them have been “successfully enacted.”
The legislation itself does not go into effect until 2020. In the meantime, let’s look at the reasons why this law is cruel and utterly idiotic, crafted by anti-choicers who are using misinformation and manipulative language to make most abortions illegal in Georgia.
1. It’s not really a heartbeat.
Republicans strategically use language equating an embryo to a baby. The “heartbeat” that doctors are able to detect in the uterus at five to six weeks is not, in fact, an actual heartbeat. As per HuffPost:
“It’s not a fully formed heart like you would understand from looking at an adult or even a young child,” Cohen said. “It’s a very early structure. We can see it on the ultrasound, but it’s not a heart, a fully developed organ, by any means.”
Moreover, cardiac activity isn’t a credible measure of fetal viability. This preliminary activity starts at a point in the pregnancy where there’s still a significant risk of miscarriage, and no real guarantee that the pregnancy will continue to be a healthy, uncomplicated one.
2. This bill bans abortion after six weeks, or the equivalent of a two week-late period.
3. Nearly a third of women have irregular menstrual cycles, and so likely wouldn’t even find out they were pregnant until even later.
This speaks for itself.
4. Abortion is allowed in cases of rape and incest, but only if the woman has filed a police report.
Considering that about three out of four rapes go unreported, this caveat in the bill is lip service at best.
Kemp does not care about women. If he did, he’d consider women’s health more important than his own misguided beliefs.