Governor Brian Kemp asks Georgian lawmakers to adopt a "Trigger Law" banning almost all abortions in that state if the US Supreme Court's decision in the Roe v. Wade is canceled.
The Republican's approval of the measure opens up a new front for cultural legislation at the Georgia Statehouse and arouses strong opposition from Democrats and advocates of the right to abortion. But it has been celebrated by some conservatives who have been calling for new restrictions on abortion for a long time and want Kemp to be held responsible.
promise to go beyond the country's strictest abortion limits.
The legislation, presented on Thursday at the Georgia House by Kemp's allies at his request, would punish anyone practicing an abortion with up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 100,000. It would provide exceptions in cases of rape, incest, medical emergencies and medical uselessness.
If the bill is passed, the new limits will only come into effect if two other things happen first: the US Supreme Court should overrule the central decision of the landmark 1973 decision, which established a national law to abortion. Then, the General Assembly should adopt a joint resolution signed by the governor.
Kemp said he supported the measure because it "would protect the innocent and most vulnerable" at a time when some liberal politicians are advocating more flexible restrictions on abortion.
"Our state values life – from conception to natural death," Kemp said in a statement. "This legislation reflects our call to protect unborn children and our desire to ensure opportunities for all."
Five states have adopted similar measures to prohibit abortion in a pre-emptive manner if Roe v. Wade is overthrown: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota. Four other Republican-led states are considering similar measures.
The Georgian version would allow several exceptions to the prohibition of abortion, including in the case of a pregnancy deemed medically futile – which is defined as an unborn child with a medical condition profound and incurable which "is incompatible with the maintenance of life after birth. "
It also includes a provision that would explicitly authorize the sale of contraceptives.
Democrats and advocates of abortion rights are vehemently opposed, which has strongly criticized a measure introduced earlier this week that would prohibit abortions as soon as the doctor can detect a heartbeat in the uterus. The current law now allows abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
And the Conservatives, who would like the state to take a more concrete step, may suffer the backlash.
Virginia Galloway, of the Coalition for Faith and Freedom in Georgia, said she preferred legislation banning abortion once the heart rate was detected, which could take up to six weeks of gestation.
"I'm excited to see them moving in one direction, but again, Roe v. Will Wade be upset? Nobody really knows it, she says. "It seems to be the expectation that exists. I'm not sure that will really happen. "
Nevertheless, she added, a "trigger law" is a step in the right direction.
"It's nice to have a governor do something to change things for life," Galloway said.
Abortion rights groups quickly began to provoke opposition to the bill.
Citing the high maternal mortality rate in Georgia, Staci Fox, of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said that such a law could restrict access to health care "in a way that will surely be a conviction. to death for even more women ".
"Legislators should focus on expanding access to health care in Georgia," she said, "not limiting it".
Interest in such laws arises as abortion opponents see a new potential to overturn the 1973 decree after President Donald Trump's appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh last year gave them the advantage. Conservatives in the Supreme Court. More than a dozen abortion cases could soon end up in front of the judges.
Kemp, the former secretary of state, wooed conservatives at the cluttered Republican primary last year with the pledge to sign a version of the law on "religious freedom", to crack down on illegal immigration, to expand the rights of firearms and to limit abortions.
Until Thursday, however, its legislative agenda focused on campaign promises that appealed to a broad electorate, including a commitment to increase teachers' salaries and combat gang violence.
Editor Maya T. Prabhu contributed to this article.
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