Georgia Personhood Amendment: War on Women Continues Over Abortion Rights
Editor's Note: With 36 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic's Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we've gotten updates on D.C., South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!
The uterus police may be phenomenon that exist only in the minds of some politicians in Georgia, but as Associated Press reporter David Crary argues, the trend of states limiting abortion rights could reach the national level this election season. The peach state is not alone in its push for personhood, but it remains to be seen if that push will be successful in Georgia or in the U.S. as a whole.
In 2011, State House Rep. Bobby Franklin tried to pass an extreme Personhood Bill that went so far that, in addition to equating abortion at any stage with murder, it would have required reporting of and investigation into all miscarriages by the “uterus police” or face felony charges. Franklin died a year ago, but a cadre of Georgia GOP politicians is here to carry on his legacy.
In May, Georgia lawmakers passed a “fetal pain” bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, except “to save the life of the mother and if the fetus has extreme defects that make survival unlikely.” Governor Nathan Deal, who ultimately signed the bill into law, expressed his feelings that the bill “provides humane protection to innocents capable of feeling pain.” Georgia Right to Life thinks the bill still doesn’t go far enough, lamenting the exemption for pregnancies in which “the fetus is likely to die after birth.”
In addition to severely restricting the permissible situation in which late-term abortions could be performed, authored by State Representative Doug McKillip (R-Athens) the bill also requires “any abortion performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy be done in a way to bring the fetus out alive.” Neither is there any exception in the bill for rape or incest.
The Republican Primary Ballot, which voters replied to on July 31, also included the following personhood question (which, being non-binding, really just polled voters):
“Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?
This question was supported by two-thirds of Republican primary voters in Georgia, apparently placing the question on the state-wide ballot in 2014.