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USGeorgia governor signs heartbeat abortion ban, joining a U.S. movement

17:50  07 may  2019
17:50  07 may  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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May 7 (Reuters) - Georgia's Republican governor on Tuesday signed legislation outlawing abortion if a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, part of a concerted effort to restrict abortion rights in states across the country.

Governor Brian Kemp received the applause of supporters in a signing ceremony, becoming the fourth governor to sign such a law since mid-March.

"Our job is to do what is right, not what is easy," Kemp said, recognizing the strong opposition to the bill and the likelihood the law will be challenged in court.

Abortion restricting bills inch closer to becoming laws in Alabama, Georgia

Abortion restricting bills inch closer to becoming laws in Alabama, Georgia The expected signing of the bill in Georgia, slated for Tuesday, comes after much uproar over the bill, including threats from within the film and television industry. Georgia is one of several states that have pushed for bans prohibiting abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected -- which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and when some women may not yet know they are pregnant. However, no such ban has actually gone into effect as they have been stopped by legal challenges.

Anti-abortion campaigners have intensified their efforts since Donald Trump was elected president and appointed two conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, hopeful they can convince the right-leaning court to re-examine the landmark case, Roe v. Wade, that established a woman's right to an abortion in 1973.

Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted heartbeat laws recently, and Iowa passed one last year. Courts have blocked the Iowa and Kentucky laws, and the others face legal challenges. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has vowed to sue to stop this law.

Even so, anti-abortion advocates have seized the political and judicial opening in their favor, introducing measures in 15 states to ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, according to Rewire.News, a site specializing in the issue.

The GOP is massively overplaying its hand on abortion

The GOP is massively overplaying its hand on abortion A mind-boggling escalation of the abortion wars has presented by the Georgia state GOP to the public with a completely straight face, like it had just tweaked Atlanta's zoning laws and not turned millions of women exercising their reproductive rights into murderers. While movement conservatives might be patting themselves on the back today, they are almost certainly overreaching in ways that could have dire consequences for them next year. Most importantly, abandoning the right's incremental anti-abortion strategy in such spectacular fashion could finally awaken pro-choice forces and lead to a massive election day counter-mobilization.

That has raised concerns among abortion-rights advocates about expanding "abortion deserts," described as major cities that are at least 100 miles (160 km) from an abortion provider.

Between Georgia and Mississippi is Alabama, where the state's House has passed a bill that would ban all abortions unless the mother's life is threatened. The state's Senate is likely to vote on it this week, raising the prospect of a extensive abortion desert in the Southeast.

Ushma Upadhyay, professor of reproductive health at the University of California, San Francisco, said she was concerned for low-income women who lack the means to travel.

"This is basic health that should be available to all women regardless of where they live, how much money they make or how many children they have," Upadhyay said.

Abortion-rights supporters see the heartbeat bills as virtual bans because fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks, when women may not be aware they are pregnant.

Georgia's Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act permits later abortions in medical emergencies. In cases of rape or incest, the woman would be required to file an official police report.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Steve Orlofsky)

Read More

Abortion rights: Why it's hard to gauge Americans' support.
Republican-run state governments are clearly aiming for a Supreme Court showdown over Roe v. Wade. Georgia recently passed a law banning most abortions after six weeks, and Alabama just passed a near-total abortion ban. Both efforts are part of more than a dozen such successful and unsuccessful attempts this year. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Not surprisingly, the blowback has been stiff from abortion rights groups and politicians. Some have even called for a boycott of Georgia.

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