Georgia Legislature Passes 'Fetal Heartbeat' Bill

The Georgia legislature has passed an important piece of abortion legislation by the slimmest of margins, creating one of the most stringent pro-life laws in the country.

House Bill 481 — or the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act — would outlaw abortions if ultrasounds can detect a heartbeat, which is about six weeks after conception. Current Georgia law outlaws abortions after 20 weeks.

The legislation passed by a vote of 92-78, just one vote above the minimum that it takes to pass legislation in the House. The Senate passed the bill last week along party lines, and Governor Brian Kemp plans on signing the bill into law.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted the legislation's sponsor, Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) that "commonsense Georgians" should support it.

“This bill recognizes the fundamental life of the child in the womb is worthy of legal protection and balances that basic right to life with the very different situations women find themselves in in pregnancies,” he said.

Naturally, the left has expressed its opposition to the bill, and various elements have threatened to fight against the passing of the legislation. Jim Treacher wrote here yesterday that several celebrities urged legislators to shoot HB-481 down:

A bunch of Hollywood big shots move their production facilities to another state that gives them generous tax incentives, and then they start pushing around the locals. They swoop in, make their big dumb superhero movies and such, and then start pontificating about which laws their benefactors should pass. They're just carpetbaggers with more expensive luggage.

Honestly, it's unlikely that Hollywood will pull up stakes in Georgia anytime soon. The tax breaks here are too good to pass up, and the entertainment industry has deep roots in the Peach State for productions to just leave the world's number one filming location.

And Erick Erickson noted on his radio show on Wednesday that pro-abortion groups have been targeting GOP legislators with threatening phone calls. Even Georgia Right to Life aimed daggers at the bill because it made exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

Governor Kemp issued a statement upon passing of the bill:

Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage. Our efforts to protect life do not end here. We must work to ease the adoption process, find loving homes for those in our foster care system, and protect the aging and vulnerable. Together, we will ensure that all Georgians are safe and have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper.

Georgia joins Kentucky and Mississippi in passing sweeping pro-life laws recently. Kentucky and Mississippi are already facing challenges to their legislation, and a judge struck down a similar law in Iowa in January. The ACLU has already vowed to take Georgia's bill to court if Kemp signs it into law.

“If the governor signs this bill into law we will see him in court,” said Sean J. Young with the ACLU of Georgia. The organization says they are ready to challenge the so-called Heartbeat Bill.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has been clear, a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion before the point of viability and there is not a single scientist or even politician who will assert that a six-week-old embryo can survive outside of a uterus,” added Young.

I'm proud of my home state for not caving in to the abortion lobby and Hollywood, and I'm thrilled to see Georgia's lawmakers standing up for the lives of the most innocent.