Georgia Senate Passes ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bill

Mar 22, 2019

The Georgia state senate has passed a bill that would effectively ban abortions and give an embryo certain legal rights.

After nearly five hours of emotional, often personal testimony from several senators, HB 481 passed along party lines 34-18.

Senators read letters from constituents detailing their stories of abortions, shared anecdotes about pregnancy and in one case, a poem written shortly after the birth of their first daughter.

If the bill is signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, nearly all abortions in Georgia would be banned after a doctor detects a heartbeat, usually around six weeks into pregnancy.

Aside from language dealing with the procedure itself, the bill has a number of economic provisions that would allow parents to claim an embryo on their taxes as a dependent, require a father to pay some pregnancy and medical expenses and allow the embryo to be included in some population counts.

Supporters of the bill also hope those other provisions might be used to mount a legal challenge to get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning Roe V. Wade.

Since the Senate changed some of the bill’s language, it now heads back to the House.

This story will be updated.