Governor Brian Kemp signed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country on Tuesday (May 7), restricting not just straight women, but lesbians, bi women, trans men with uteruses, and other LGBTQ people as well, from having an abortion after six weeks, reported CBS News.
The Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, also known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” bans abortions when doctors can detect a “fetal heartbeat,” which is usually around six weeks after conception – before most people know they’re pregnant.
There are exceptions: cases of rape and incest if a police report has been filed, if the mother’s life is threatened, or if the pregnancy is deemed “medically futile” by a doctor.
Bisexual and lesbian women may be particularly affected by this bill, as a study from 2015 found that they are almost two times as likely to get pregnant before 20 than straight women.
“Georgia is a state that values life,” Kemp said at the bill signing. “We protect the innocent, we champion the vulnerable, we stand up and speak for those that are unable to speak for themselves.
The signing of the bill by Gov. Kemp comes as no surprise, as one of his campaign promises during the gubernatorial race was enacting the “toughest abortion bill in the country.”
Many advocacy groups have protested the bill, including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Both organizations threatened to challenge the bill in court on the grounds of a violation of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision to protect a woman’s right to an abortion until the fetus is viable.
Georgia’s governor just signed the six-week abortion ban. We have one message for Governor Kemp: We’ll see you in court. And to the Georgia lawmakers who supported this legislation: you were right to be nervous about voting for #HB481 pic.twitter.com/9GdZ5d4yrr
— Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates (@PPSE_Advocates) May 7, 2019
BREAKING: Gov. Kemp just signed this near total ban on abortion. We’ve said it before and we'll say it again — we will see you in court. https://t.co/C40ihqwujY
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 7, 2019
Celebrities have also threatened to pull out of filming in Georgia because of the bill. Alyssa Milano, who was in Atlanta recently filming Netflix show “Insatiable,” started a petition saying that if the heartbeat bill passed, “we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia.” It was signed by more than 100 celebrities including Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin, and Judd Apatow.
This boycott could create huge costs for Georgia’s economy – the entertainment industry employs 200,000 Georgians and has generated more than $60 billion in economic activity.
If uncontested, the law will go into effect January 1, 2020.