Georgia abortion bill unfair to women

Olivia Weller

Dear Editors,

House Bill 481, also known as the Heartbeat Bill or the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, just recently passed Georgia’s House and Senate on March 29. It is currently awaiting Brian Kemp’s signature on the Governor’s desk. One of the reasons it has not been signed by Gov. Kemp is due to the Hollywood boycott of filming in Georgia if this bill is signed. Not only is the Heartbeat Bill threatening the film industry in Georgia, but it is also a huge setback for women’s rights.

House Bill 481 would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected in the fetus, which is encountered at around six weeks into the pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, most women find out that they are pregnant between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. This would mean that for most women, it would be too late to engage in a legal abortion. This bill is not only another hindrance for the pro-choice movement, but it is also a setback for sexual assault victims. One of the provisions in the bill states that if a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest, the survivor must have filed a police report in order to qualify for an abortion. This is another impediment to women’s rights, as according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, seven out of 10 sexual assault victims do not report their incident. This “precautionary” measure is not only unnecessary but is inhumane to make any victim of sexual assault victimize themselves and relive the assault.

 Although the legislation keeps restricting abortion, the legislators do not understand that these bills will not stop women from getting an abortion. Nearly 68,000 women die annually due to unsafe abortions. With abortion still legal, that number is already too high … what happens when abortion is deemed illegal? This legislation also brings up the long-standing question: Why does the government feel the need to regulate a woman’s body? And why is it only a woman’s body being regulated? Why can a man abandon a woman when she gets pregnant without any legal action? Legislators assume that women who get abortions use the procedure as a form of birth control. 

The psychological toll that getting an abortion has on a woman is very serious. Some psychological side effects include insomnia, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders and anxiety. The decision of getting an abortion is not made lightly. Another argument comes from a scientific standpoint. When is the fetus viable for life? This question has yet to be answered, but legislators in Georgia have taken these scientific matters into their own hands showing that they believe that a fetus is viable when a heartbeat is heard. I disagree. Many studies show that the age of viability outside of the womb is between  24 and 28 weeks. If a pregnancy is only six weeks in, the fetus is not living, and aborting the child would not terminate a life. It’s ironic that a bill with an acronym of LIFE threatens to put a woman’s right to choose the best course for her body to death.