How Georgia and Other States’ ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bans Kill and Injure Women

How Georgia and Other States' 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bans Kill and Injure Women

Thursday March 21, 2019

States across the nation are increasingly pushing so-called “heartbeat bills.” These ban abortion as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat—usually around six weeks gestation. Georgia is the latest state to propose such legislation. If the bill passes, and it seems likely to do so, Georgia abortion clinics will be forced to subject women to medically unnecessary ultrasounds. If an ultrasound detects the presence of a heartbeat, a woman cannot undergo an abortion.

These bills are plainly unconstitutional, but that doesn’t mean much. Pro-choice activists who assert that the laws are illegal miss the larger point. To get a law declared unconstitutional, you need someone who has standing to sue and a lawyer who has the skills and resources necessary to do so. That requires time and money.