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Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill” and the unintended health consequences to women

Atlanta birth injury lawyerThe nationwide controversy over abortion continues to explode and Georgia is ground zero.

While, we, at the Tyrone Law Firm recognize there are people with deeply-held beliefs on both sides of the abortion debate, as a law firm who cares for injured babies and who represents families of mothers who have died from complications with childbirth, we are concerned about the health effects on women.

The Georgia state legislature and Gov. Brian Kemp in May 2019 passed a bill that would ban an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs after six weeks of pregnancy.

The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020 in Georgia, a state with alarming medical trends in relation to childbirth.

The Georgia fetal heartbeat abortion law makes exceptions in the case of rape and incest if the woman files a police report first. It also allows for abortions when the life of the woman is at risk or when a fetus is determined not to be viable because of a serious medical condition, according to The Washington Post.

If the Georgia fetal heartbeat abortion law takes effect, some women who are able to do so will travel out of state to get an abortion. Others, however, will remain pregnant and give birth against their will or will seek to end pregnancies outside of a clinical setting that can put them at risk for harm, according to a lawsuit filed to block the Georgia law.

How the law impacts women

The Georgia fetal heartbeat abortion law comes among developments such as a recent USA Today study that found that Georgia had the second-worst death rate for mothers in the United States from 2012-2016.
According to that study, 48.4 women per 100,000 died during childbirth in Georgia over that time period, trailing only Louisiana at 58.1 per 100,000.

That same report listed Georgia as the fifth-worst state in the country with regard to maternal harm-rate, estimating that in 172.8 birth deliveries per 10,000, some form of harm to the mother during childbirth occurs.

In signing the Georgia fetal heartbeat abortion bill into law, Kemp said preservation of life was worth the likely court challenges that have ensued.

Sean Young, American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia legal director, said the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly held that abortion is constitutional, that a woman has the freedom to make one of the most intimate decisions that she can make.

The ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in June challenging the Georgia fetal heartbeat abortion law. The suit was filed in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri and Alabama also have passed abortion laws.

None of the states’ proposed bans has taken effect, and abortion remains legal in every state. Some of the laws have already been blocked, and courts might put the others on hold as they consider legal challenges.

The states’ efforts are seen as bids to change the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that said a woman has the right to choose whether to have an abortion.

Contact Tyrone Birth Injury Lawyers today for help with cases of birth injuries.

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