Georgia governor announces he'll sign 'Heartbeat Bill' criminalizing abortions after 6 weeks

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has announced he will sign House Bill 481, the so-called "Heartbeat Bill" barring abortions the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected. This was expected; Kemp has been a booster of the bill, despite it clearly violating Supreme Court rulings protecting abortion as a right.


The bill criminalizes abortions after the first six weeks of pregancy, before some women are even aware they are pregnant. It has token exemptions for rape and incest, but only if the woman reports the incident to police, erecting a further barrier for abused women in the state. Once signed, the state will join similar just-signed measures in Mississippi and Kentucky; five other Republican-led states are expected to follow.

The goal of all these bills, each of which will be placed on hold by courts abiding by Supreme Court precedent, is the same. They are intended to be vehicles by which the newly hard-right Supreme Court can revisit those past precedents and overturn them. Forcing the court rightward was the sole purpose of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's year-long blocking of Obama's last Supreme Court pick; with the addition of Brett Kavanaugh, the Roberts court may now have a majority willing to revisit and dramatically curtail American women’s right to end a pregnancy.

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