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Letter: Heartbeat bill violates women's rights
Abortion bill
Protesters opposed to an anti-abortion bill fill the hallway on Monday, March 18, 2019, in Atlanta. - photo by Associated Press

Is it OK to force pregnancy and birth onto someone? Is it OK to tell a woman what to do with her body? Is it OK to strip women of their basic human rights? The answer to all these questions is no.

However, the state of Georgia believes the answers to these questions are yes. In March 2019, the “heartbeat bill” passed both the Georgia House and Georgia Senate. New Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp promised during his campaign that the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act would be passed if elected governor. He is inches away from fulfilling that promise.

The “heartbeat bill” will sentence women in Georgia to the horrors of having no rights to their bodies and not having time to even consider their options. If this state act is passed, it will go against the Constitution and undermine the basic rights of humanity.

In 1973, Roe v. Wade determined that a woman's decision to undergo an abortion was protected by the Constitution. The Supreme Court decided that the privacy of women’s choice to have an abortion is protected under the 14th Amendment.

House Bill 481 will be a de facto ban on abortion as it will restrict abortions after a heartbeat is heard. The heartbeat bill will violate women’s privacy, the basis of the Supreme Court case. This bill goes directly against what Roe v. Wade established. Other states have tried to establish abortion bans less strict than Georgia’s that were struck down as unconstitutional. A United States district judge determined that Mississippi’s 15-week ban was unconstitutional. If a 15-week ban was too strict and unconstitutional, how could Georgia pass a ban at six weeks?

When considering abortion, an important aspect is viability. This is often an argument cited by supporters of the bill. However, if taken out of the womb, can a baby survive on its own? The current viability standard is 22-24 weeks. The earliest delivery of a child that was able to successfully live was at 21 weeks and 5 days gestation. No baby has lived if born earlier than this. The “heartbeat bill” will restrict abortion 16 weeks before viability. No child delivered at six weeks would be able to grow into a healthy adult. How can a supporter of the bill believe that babies can survive outside of the womb at six weeks?

When, not if, Gov. Kemp signs this ban on abortion, he will be signing away women’s voice and decisions over their own body. Georgia’s current abortion ban is at 20 weeks. Why take their choice away from them and force them to carry a child they do not want to bring into this world? Many of the arguments of supporters can be easily disputed. House Bill 481 will be unconstitutional and a threat to women’s rights. The LIFE Act should not be implemented in Georgia and will be devastating if it is.

Shiannah Scott

Cleveland

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