Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp, recently signed HB 481, a bill banning abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected (about six weeks after conception).
After Hollywood celebrities unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the bill by threatening to boycott the state of Georgia, abortion advocates are now claiming the heartbeat bill is a piece of “anti-abortion” legislation that will prosecute pregnant women for any reason. While the bill recognizes unborn babies as “a class of living, distinct persons,” the accusations against the recent legislation in Georgia are patently untrue.
- Women Who Obtain Illegal Abortions Will Face Life Imprisonment or the Death Penalty
Because the Georgia bill recognizes unborn children as legal persons, abortion advocates have mistakenly asserted that a woman who terminates her pregnancy will be subject to criminal charges, and anyone who helps her obtain an abortion across state lines will be found guilty of “conspiracy” under this new Georgia law. But these assertions are blatantly false.
As Georgia Code Section 16-12-140 states:
(a) A person commits the offense of criminal abortion when, in violation of Code Section 16-12-141 , he or she administers any medicine, drugs, or other substance whatever to any woman or when he or she uses any instrument or other means whatever upon any woman with intent to produce a miscarriage or abortion.
(b) A person convicted of the offense of criminal abortion shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.
The bill does not subject anyone to life imprisonment or capital punishment, and the law only applies to third parties who perform the abortion— not women who have terminated their pregnancies. Only abortionists providing illegal abortions will face legal consequences. Women seeking abortions and who have abortions will not face criminal prosecution.Punishing mothers for abortions has long been opposed by the pro-life movement. Even before abortion was legal, women were not prosecuted for having an abortion. This standard has been consistent with current abortion bans, such as the law on partial-birth abortions, as it does not subject women to criminal charges if they underwent an abortion procedure.
- Women Can be Imprisoned for Having a Miscarriage
Another claim from those in opposition to Georgia’s new heartbeat bill is that women will be criminally charged for having a miscarriage. This is not true, and the bill identifies a miscarriage as a “‘spontaneous abortion’… the naturally occurring death of an unborn child, including a miscarriage or stillbirth.” Neither of these occurrences would be made punishable by law through the HB 481 bill, as a miscarriage is a tragic, natural loss of a pregnancy.
Section 4 of the Georgia bill distinguishes the difference between an abortion and a medical procedure meant to treat a “spontaneous abortion.”
(1) ‘Abortion’ means the act of using, prescribing, or administering any instrument, substance, device, or other means with the purpose to terminate a pregnancy with knowledge that termination will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of an unborn child; provided, however, that any such act shall not be considered an abortion if the act is performed with the purpose of:
(A) Removing a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion
(B) Removing an ectopic pregnancy.
Treatment for a miscarriage or a stillbirth will not be punishable by law under this bill. The removal of an ectopic pregnancy, a situation where a fertilized egg does not implant within the uterus, is still legal and women will not be criminalized for seeking treatment for this condition. The same section outlines what can be considered a medical emergency, and how procedures performed with the intention of saving the life of the mother are not prosecutable.
- Women Will Be Forced to Carry Their Rapists’ Child
Accusations that the bill is “demonstrative of a hatred of women” stem from another false claim that the bill forces women who were raped to carry to term.
Not only does the bill have exemptions for the life of the mother, it also makes provisions for victims of rape or incest. However, it should be noted a small percentage of abortions occur for this reason. This argument also assumes a majority of women who were raped seek an abortion. This is false.
Dr. Sandra Mahkorn conducted a study where she found 75-85% of pregnant rape victims choose not to abort. Another study found 80% of pregnant rape victims regretted their abortion and felt it added to their emotional trauma.
Speaking on this issue, rape survivor Kathleen Dezeeuw said:
“Having lived through rape, and having raised a child ‘conceived in rape,’ I feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal for rape and incest. I feel that we’re being used to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.”
These are the largest, most untrue claims circulating about the Georgia Heartbeat Bill.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.