The Georgia state legislature on Friday advanced a pro-life bill Monday that would prohibit abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. Georgia’s Republican-controlled House passed the bill Friday in a 92-78 vote.
Georgia House Bill 481, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (L.I.F.E.) Act, would ban abortions on an unborn baby after their heartbeat is detectable, around six weeks. It would allow exceptions for rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life. In addition, the bill would allow parents to claim unborn babies as dependents on their taxes and include the unborn baby in census data. It also would allow mothers to collect child support for pregnancy and delivery costs from the father prior to the baby’s birth.
“Modern medical science, not available decades ago, demonstrates that unborn children are a class of living, distinct persons… The state of Georgia, applying reasoned judgment to the full body of modern medical science, recognizes the benefits of providing full legal recognition to an unborn child above the minimum requirements of federal law,” the bill states.
State Rep. Ed Setzler, the lead sponsor of the bill, said his goal is to protect unborn babies, who already are unique, living human beings by six weeks of pregnancy.
“Protecting life in the womb with a human heartbeat is what science, law and human conscience would suggest,” Setzler said.
The legislation now heads to Governor Brian Kemp, who has said he would sign it into law but who is facing a massive protest from Hollywood elites threatening to boycott the state and take their millions in movie and television productions with them.
“Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage,” Kemp said in a statement Friday. “Our efforts to protect life do not end here. We must work to ease the adoption process, find loving homes for those in our foster care system, and protect the aging and vulnerable. Together, we will ensure that all Georgians are safe and have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper.”
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has already announced its intention to sue the state over the legislation.
The bill passed on a party-line vote in the Senate 34-18.
Republican Sen. Greg Dolezal, speaking in favor of the legislation, said that every life is a miracle.
“I don’t know how many of us are in this room right now, probably 200, but I am looking at 200 miracles,” Dolezal said. He then began to look around the chamber. “Senator, you are a miracle. Senator, you are a miracle,” then up to the balcony, “Sir, you’re a miracle. Ma’am, you’re a miracle.”
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“Today, we took another step to ensure that life is valued and protected in Georgia,” Kemp wrote on Twitter Monday after a Senate committee approved the bill. “I thank the Senate Science and Technology Committee for their work and look forward to HB 481 receiving consideration by the full Senate.”
The bill passed the state House earlier this month after a contentious debate. Pro-abortion Democratic lawmakers turned their backs on Setzler at one point in the debate, according to the Gainesville Times. Others walked off the floor while he was speaking. At another point, state Rep. Renitta Shannon, a pro-abortion Democrat, refused to yield the floor and had her microphone cut off.
Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
Recently, a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s new heartbeat bill. In January, a judge also declared Iowa’s heartbeat law unconstitutional. North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down their laws as well.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week abortion ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”
There is more hope that the U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.