The state of Georgia became the most recent battleground between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice supporters on the topic of abortion with the HB481 bill passed by state legislature and expected to soon be signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp. For those who are unaware of what HB481 is, It is part of Georgia’s Living Infants Fairness and Equality ACT and you may know it by a different name The Heartbeat Bill. I will be going over just what it is and what it does here in this post as well as the contention surrounding it from many considered to be Hollywood Elite.
First let’s take a look at the basics of the bill and how it defines Personhood.
The bill will amend state law to define “Natural Person” to mean any human being including unborn children.
The bill will include embryos and fetuses in state population based determinations.
The bill will amend the state tax code to redefine “dependent” to allow a fetus at any stage of development to qualify as a dependent minor.
The next part is where the real issue lies with Pro-Choice supporters. It is the Heartbeat Abortion Ban. This section covers the both the ban and the exceptions that the law intends to provide for.
Except in cases of medical emergency, no abortion may be performed or attempted to be performed unless the physician performing the procedure has first made a determination of the presence of a human heartbeat.
The bill will prohibit abortion when a fetus has been determined to have a heartbeat unless the pregnancy is diagnosed as medically futile, or except when the abortion is:
- necessary to avert the death of the pregnant person or avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person;
- necessary to preserve the life of the fetus; or
- because of a pregnancy at 20 weeks or earlier is the result from rape or incest (and such offense was reported to law enforcement).
The bill will require any abortion performed after the first trimester to be performed in a licensed hospital, in a licensed ambulatory surgical center, or in a health facility licensed as an abortion facility by the state Department of Community Health.
Any person who performs an abortion would need to be a licensed physician.
The bill will require all physician, hospital, or other health-care facility records to be made available to local law enforcement agencies.
The bill will require a physician to inform the pregnant patient of the presence of a fetal heartbeat at the time the abortion would be performed.
Informational materials provided by the state would need to include the following additional statement:
“By six weeks’ gestation, the unborn child has a human heartbeat.”
The bill will amend requirements for abortion reports to require physicians to include information on the determination of the presence of a fetal heartbeat.
In every case of the homicide of a child, current state law allows there to be some party entitled to recover the full value of the life of the child. The bill would extend this to apply to the homicide of a “child carried in the womb,” at the point at which a heartbeat is detected.
I promised a fight with the title of this piece didn’t I? I promised to cover a big duke-a-roo between the state of Georgia and Hollywood, didn’t I? Very well, now that I have gone over what the bill entails, let us now turn our attention to the opponent and what a list of 50 well known Hollywood actors signed off on in an open letter and petition sent on March 28th to the Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Governor Brian Kemp.
You now see what the bill consists of and you see the opposing viewpoint. Now let’s get into the editorial part of this article as I attempt to suss out what the average person can make of this debacle. It is true that many such bills have been shut down in court as unconstitutional in accordance to the verdict of Roe v Wade in 1973. 46 years ago. I myself have been on both sides of the Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice debate as I remember a time that some of the more vocal Pro-Lifer’s were of the mind that every sperm produced by a man deserved a name. This is of course an exaggeration, but I assure you not by much. They were certainly of a sort that would have never allowed for the type of exceptions that I see presented in HB481, which was a huge part of my own reason for siding with the Pro-Choice argument.
Let’s consider the Pro-Choice argument in this particular case. Besides the obvious argument against constitutional rights, the letter states that the time frame is far too short and by the time many women know they are pregnant the choice is already taken from them. Once upon a time, I might have found this a reasonable point, however with advancements in both contraceptive methods, including a next day pill and the development of more sensitive pregnancy tests capable of detecting the HCG hormone in a little over a week, I would personally argue that any responsible person who is sexually active has the tools to prevent that time window of 6 weeks to pass them by. In light of this I would say the only reasonable argument would be the scheduling for such a procedure in the facilities required by the bill.
The letter goes on to talk about forced hidden procedures done at great risk to the woman. Seeing as how I saw nothing of this requirement in the bill itself, I can only deduce that the signee’s of the open letter were referring to DIY at home methods of abortion….To which I say again; The bill does provide for exceptions to the 6 week time frame. Given that any pregnancy outside of many of these conditions would have to be planned, accidental, or immaculate, being a responsible person provides the best protection. Again only the possibility of a woman’s inability to schedule the procedure within the time frame given is really a justification for this point’s reasoning and only that depending on the facilities available in a given area since same day surgical centers are listed as viable recognized options.
So what is my take away from this? The bill. The fact that 50 Hollywood stars signed off on a letter that threatened a boycott of an entire state and the urging of production companies to follow suit. There was a time when, as a person who sided with Pro-Choice, I would have been content with what HB481 provides for. As far as Anti-Abortion bills go, I really see nothing unreasonable about it given all of the advancements in prenatal healthcare in the last 46 years. So the only elephant that is left in the room is whether or not it is unconstitutional…..The “What a woman does with her body.” argument. I agree, to a point……a 6 week point. You see human beings in most all cases, but a few extremely rare defect scenarios, only have one heart beat, because they only have one heart. When a second heart beat is detected…..It really isn’t JUST the woman’s body anymore……is it? When you consider that this argument essentially can be seen as the woman having the right to treat an unborn child, a second life form with it’s own heart beat, as though it were an article of personal PROPERTY to be kept or discarded at will…..I ask you, the reader, how constitutional is regarding a human life as if it were PROPERTY?