How Gerrymandering Leads to Radical Abortion Laws
Georgia's "fetal heartbeat" bill never would have passed if the state legislature truly reflected the voters' political preferences.
By David Daley
May 14, 2019
Stacey Abrams still hasn’t conceded that she lost to Brian Kemp in last year’s gubernatorial race in Georgia, and perhaps justifiably so. Kemp, formerly the secretary of state there, administered his own election, shuttered precincts in black communities, and presided over a last-minute voting roll purge that targeted predominantly minority voters. Despite all that help, he eclipsed Abrams by fewer than 55,000 votes—another sign of how purple Georgia has become.
Last week, however, the state legislature enacted—and Kemp signed—one of the most extreme “fetal heartbeat” abortion prohibitions in the nation. HB 481, which declares that “unborn children are a class of living, distinct persons,” limits abortions to the first six weeks of pregnancy. If the law is allowed to take effect in January—rather than being held up in the courts—women who miscarry could be investigated by the state to determine whether their pregnancy ended unintentionally or with the help of a doctor or an abortion pill.
What's behind the rise of anti-abortion 'heartbeat bills'?
By Ritu Prasad, BBC News, Washington
24 April 2019
A slew of states have introduced new anti-abortion legislation that would ban the procedure as soon as a foetal heartbeat can be detected. What's behind the push - and the backlash - for these bills and what exactly do they mean for women?
In the first months of this year, nearly 30 states introduced some form of an abortion ban in their legislature. Fifteen have specifically been working with so-called "heartbeat bills", that would ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Heartbeat Abortion Bills Were Once a Fringe Idea. Could They Overturn Roe v. Wade?
Three states have enacted heartbeat bills. Ten more are considering them.
When anti-abortion activist Janet Porter first introduced the idea of a “heartbeat” bill in 2011, she was almost laughed out of the room. The proposal—to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat could be detected, or at about six weeks gestation—was so extreme that many of her fellow Republicans thought it was impossible.
A decade later, GOP lawmakers around the country are rushing to adopt Porter’s signature legislation, in hope of forcing the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine Roe v. Wade. Georgia is poised to become the third state to enact such a ban in the first three months of 2019 alone. Ten other states are currently considering the legislation, which experts say would ban abortions before most women know they are pregnant.