Georgia Senate supports anti-abortion bill "heartbeat"


The Georgian Senate approved Friday, after more than four hours of debate, which would be one of the country's most stringent abortion laws.

Bill 481 would prohibit abortions as soon as the doctor detects a heartbeat in the uterus, which usually takes about six weeks before pregnancy and before most women realize that they are not pregnant. they are pregnant. The current Georgian law allows abortions up to 20 weeks.

Georgia is on the verge of becoming the third state in fewer weeks to adopt similar legislation. A federal judge blocked the version of the Kentucky law a few hours after it was signed by the governor of that state.

Earlier this week, the Mississippi governor also passed a "beating heart" bill. Last year, a court overturned the government's ban on abortion, saying the ruling was unconstitutional.

Georgian legislation is now being returned to the House, which will have to approve changes to the Senate. The House passed the original bill shortly earlier this month.

Republican state representative Acworth, Ed Setzler, who sponsored the bill, said he was eager to get the bill past the finish line before the end of the session of April 2nd.

"We have really put a lot of effort into reconciling the legitimate interests of women and the fundamental right to the life of the child," he said.

Democrats have pledged to use the vote to defeat Republicans in the 2020 elections.

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Governor Brian Kemp should sign the bill when he wins the last pass. During his 2018 campaign, he pledged to sign the most stringent abortion laws in the country.

In a statement shortly after the vote, Kemp said the Senate "affirmed Georgia's commitment to life".

"I congratulate the members who supported the adoption of the" Heartbeat "bill for protecting the most vulnerable and giving voice to those who can not yet speak for themselves," Kemp said.

The American Civil Liberties Union has already announced that it will take legal action if the measure is finally adopted.

Many Republican lawmakers said the bill had been proposed in response to a New York law that expanded access to abortion.

During a sometimes moving debate, the Senate Speaker on Science and Technology, Renee Unterman, who oversaw the bill in the House, told her story of having to undergo a hysterectomy at 22 years old, preventing him from having children.

She then adopted two children – she was happy that the women decided to complete.

"We are not like New York or Virginia," she said. "We will not cast children who are not perfect because all children are perfect in the sight of God."

One by one, the Democratic women of the Senate – dressed in white to recognize women's rights and the suffrage movement – told moving personal stories and those of others who had aborted or had problems during childbirth.

State Sen. Jen Jordan, a Democrat from Atlanta, recounted her 10 pregnancies that resulted in only two children. She had eight miscarriages, one of them while she was five months pregnant. "She called Juliet," Jordan said.

"I often knelt to pray for my losses," she said. "But regardless of my faith, my beliefs, my losses, I have never departed from the basic principle that every woman must be able to make decisions with her God and her family."

The measure was approved 34-18, with Unterman being the only woman to vote for the legislation. State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick of Marietta, an orthopedic surgeon and only other Republican in the House, was excused for attending a funeral.

Democrats have pointed to the growing number of suburban women who voted in the 2018 elections, helping the party win several seats of Republican lawmakers in the city of Atlanta.

"Come 2020, this bill will help elect more women," said Sen. Sally Harrell, Democrat of Atlanta. "Vote yes for this bill and we come for your seats because that is how democracy works."

After remaining silent in recent weeks, more than 100 local business men and women issued a letter Friday in which they publicly expressed their opposition to the legislation. Several renowned medical groups, including the Georgia Medical Association – a lobby of doctors – have also urged lawmakers to reject the bill.

The debate has been rich in emotions in recent weeks. About 20 members of the House of States turned their back on Setzler when he introduced the bill into this chamber and hundreds of Capitol residents lobbied to lobby their elected officials.

On at least one occasion, the police escorted Unterman to his car after a committee hearing on the bill. The bomb dogs searched the chambers before the committee hearings and wandered Friday to the Capitol all day.

Police officers from the Georgian state have been called to stand in Atlanta. Witness at least 30 cruise cars parked in front of the Capitol. It was the largest police presence of recent memory during a debate at the Capitol.

According to the proposal, women could still have abortions later in case of rape, incest, if the life of the mother is in danger or in case of "medical futility" when a fetus could not survive after birth.

A pregnant person after a rape or incest would have to file a police report for the abortion to be practiced.

The bill would also allow parents to claim an embryo, once the heartbeat is detected, on their taxes as dependents and to count a fetus in the state's population during the census.

While the analysis of the fiscal impact on the state is not yet complete, Mr Setzler said he believed that the loss of tax revenue for Georgia would cost between $ 10 and $ 20 million a year.

There are currently about 20 abortion lawsuits – including several heartbeat laws – that need to be reviewed by the US Supreme Court and that could be used to challenge the Roe v. Wade. The 1973 decision established a national right to abortion.

Georgian anti-abortion campaigners are hoping the state's heartbeat bill will overturn the court's decision.

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