After Georgia lawmakers passed an abortion bill banning the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy, a state senator who opposed the measure cautioned that the restriction could be deadly.
“This bill is going to affect every aspect of every woman’s life in the state of Georgia,” state Sen. Jen Jordan (D) told CNN on Monday. “Let me be clear: Women are going to die because of this law because they cannot get appropriate health care from OB-GYNs in this state, and that is really what’s going to happen at the end of the day.”
Women in the state may obtain an abortion up to 20 weeks into pregnancy, but the bill would bar patients from having one as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around the six-week mark — often before women even know they are pregnant.
It would allow for exceptions for women whose pregnancies put them at serious health risk, in cases of rape or incest if a police report has been filed and for fetuses that are deemed nonviable.
The Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, also known as the heartbeat bill, is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) this week.
Jordan called the move “absolutely chilling,” adding that the inclusion of an affirmative defense to legally shield doctors who inadvertently harm a fetus “shows that this is a sea change in the law with respect to criminalizing women with respect to abortion.”
“If you’re not going to prosecute women, there’s no need to have an affirmative defense,” she pointed out.
Pushed for answers on the matter, state Rep. Ed Setzler (R), a co-sponsor of the bill, repeatedly avoided giving substantial details, arguing that women who have an abortion after a heartbeat can be detected wouldn’t end up incarcerated even though they will be open to prosecution.
Instead, he emphasized that a fetus is “a living distinct human being” that should be protected by law.
On Saturday, Jordan’s speech denouncing the bill went viral after she shared her struggle with having children, revealing that although she lost eight of her 10 pregnancies, she has always believed women are owed the right to make their own medical choices.