The question of the illegality of getting an abortion in Georgia is a tricky one. Since the landmark case, Roe v Wade was recently overruled by the Supreme Court, every state in the USA governs by a different set of rules, and every state has a different take on the recent abortion access in the country. This is your guide to know if getting an abortion in Georgia is legal or criminal.
1. Case Of Roe V. Wade
The debate about abortion and whether it should be legalized or not dates back to the 70s with the landmark judgment of Roe v Wade where the Supreme Court legalized abortion and said that it is the mother’s choice whether or not to carry forward with the pregnancy. It was held that it was entirely a woman’s choice if she wanted to keep the child growing inside of her or not. This verdict of the superior court triggered a perennial debate of pro-life vs pro-choice.
Many people in the community even termed Roe as judicial activism which made the issue even more controversial. Judicial activism is when the judiciary uses its powers to go against the rules or acts given by the government. It was held that the right to abortion isn’t absolute and should be balanced between the government’s interests in protecting the public health of numerous women in the country.
1.1 Supreme Court Precedent
It was held that abortion access would be given up till 20 weeks of pregnancy after which the approval of two medical providers would be needed for termination till 24 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion services were made legal throughout the country and a constitutional right.
The Superior Court also said that reproductive rights and feminist women’s health centers and feminist women’s health center and care providers would be prioritized in any mishappening ban on abortion and essential health care would be given to the mother immediately. Hence, abortion laws took a pro-choice turn after deciding this landmark case.
1.2 The Opposition
Like every other situation, this too has a two-way argument. Some groups were pro-life and thought that giving women abortion access would end innocent babies’ lives. Hence, there were crisis pregnancy centers set up all across the country. The function of these centers was to persuade pregnant women from having an abortion until there was a medical emergency.
The reproductive rights of women were being compromised which was an issue for the entire state. The opposition also firmly believes that there is a need for more feminist women’s health centers that will improve the state of feminist women’s health centers. the state’s appeal continues the overall situation concerning reproductive and feminist women’s health centers.
1.3 Supreme Court Overturned Roe V Wade
Roe v Wade was overturned by the Superior Court recently in 2022. This decision was based on the fact that marginal groups are being severely impacted by the abortion ban since they don’t have access to proper reproductive health care.
A lot of people who did not belong to the financially well-off class still had a lot of problems getting proper health care and getting an abortion in case of an unwanted pregnancy was a bigger issue. Abortion rights were ultimately turned illegal. Abortion rights advocates and advocacy groups have time and again fought for making abortions legal but the issue is still stuck in legal ping pong.
1.4 GEORGIA SUPREME COURT ON ABORTION ACCESS
Since there was a huge ongoing debate regarding this matter, the apex court of Georgia decided to put a six-week ban on abortion access. The ban prohibits abortion till six weeks of pregnancy. This was met with huge opposition from many as six weeks is a pretty early stage in pregnancy and the last menstrual period when many don’t even know that they’re pregnant. The 2019 law denied abortion access once cardiac activity was detected in the embryo.
Supreme Court judge Robert Mcburney stated that laws that violate Georgia’s federal constitution, or that of the U.S.A. if passed would forever be void. Instead, if the legislature wishes to ban abortions, it must develop alternative laws for the land, Judge Mcburney wrote.
2. DENIAL OF ABORTION
Research shows that being denied abortion causes long-lasting reproductive health issues along with financial and emotional strains. The six-week abortion ban makes it difficult for families to focus on other important aspects of their lives like education, work, finance, etc.
Medical healthcare, healthcare providers, and abortion providers say that the six-week abortion ban in extreme law has led to several reproductive healthcare issues for citizens. They would have to get the pregnancy terminated at a very early stage or else they would have to travel hundreds of miles away from the state to a place where abortion access is legal.
The extreme abortion ban will also lead to a lack of essential healthcare post-op; whatever the case, having post-op care for an illegal activity would also be illegal. This might result in a lot of reproductive health and menstrual health issues for women.
At such an early stage of six weeks, it is difficult for the mother to decide if she wants to carry on with the pregnancy or not. There are also many unprivileged women who can’t afford to travel to other states to get an abortion done. Therefore, in such cases it is difficult to have a child and raise them while giving them a good lifestyle.
Six days after the ban took effect, on 26th June, the center and its partners filed a lawsuit demanding a preliminary block on the ban. But the Superior Court of Georgia refused to do so. The ban gives access to confidential medical information of the patients to the legal authorities concerned which, as alleged by the prosecution, is a breach of liberty, privacy, and equal protection guarantees as given by Georgia’s Constitution.
2.1 STRIKING DOWN OF ABORTION BAN IN GEORGIA
The Superior Court struck down the law banning abortion care post six weeks of pregnancy in Georgia. Abortion care post-six weeks was hence resumed in the state. Georgia Supreme Court judge Mcburney struck down the law stating that it was violative of Georgia’s constitutional rights and the freedom it guarantees.
The ban on abortion law was considered vague and without any legal basis. The judge also pointed out that the same ban abortion ban abortion, also went against the landmark judgment of Roe.
Judge Mcburney also clarified that the ban put by the US Superior Court on Roe wouldn’t revive the ban on abortion in the state courts of Georgia. For abortion rights advocates, this was the remaining significantly important legal avenue to overturn Georgia’s anti-abortion law.
Georgia health service providers and abortion clinics were being forced by the state’s ban on abortion law to deny healthcare and abortion services to hundreds of patients who were in critical condition and may have needed an abortion. The necessary reproductive healthcare and abortion-related services weren’t being provided to the women in need just because of the abortion ban law being in force.
The court of Georgia was very thorough while analyzing the case for allowing abortion in their state after the ban on Roe v Wade as there might be many other cases where one might want to get an abortion rather than just choose. There might arise some medical fallacy due to which having a child would be highly dangerous for the mother as well as the child. Thus, the court needs to look at this case with a very sympathetic approach because it will ultimately result in the deteriorating reproductive health of women of the state.
2.2 ADVANTAGES OF STRIKING DOWN OF ABORTION BAN IN GEORGIA
The main advantage of removing the ban was that women would be able to get better reproductive healthcare services without spending a fortune on traveling to other countries or states for getting something as minor as an abortion.
Legalizing abortion also reduced the number of women and girls giving birth and as a result, more women started working which contributed to a major boost in women’s economic boost. This allowed more women to opt for education and enter into professional careers and avoid poverty.
Many feminist women’s reproductive health care centers are set up to give post-abortion care. These not only give medical care to the patients to improve their reproductive health but also properly attend to them in terms of mental counseling that one might need post-op.
3. REVERSE IMPACT OF BANNING ABORTIONS
Research shows that kids that are grown out of such situations, where the mother wanted to abort the child but weren’t given a chance, the child suffers even after growing up, apart from having a troubled childhood. They also grow up without access to proper education and seldom go out for higher studies. They are more likely to be involved in crime and have lower adult earnings. Legalizing abortion reduces cases of such children.
Studies also show that women who declined abortion were found living in poverty years later. This reduces women’s labor force and their contribution to the economy. Less contribution to the economy of a country of a particular sect isn’t a feature of a very healthy society.
The first year Roe was struck down, about 100,000 women weren’t able to get an abortion. Even if they were to travel to other states to get their abortion done, there would be a long backlog of women who were already in waiting rooms to get their pregnancies terminated. This would lead to a long delay which would in turn make it difficult to recover post-abortion.
The list of advantages and disadvantages of criminalizing and legalizing abortion access is endless and non-exhaustive. The consequences of not allowing abortion would ultimately affect the children who would be born out of these pregnancies and their quality of life would worsen.
The right to get an abortion would lead to the widening of the stark economic and racial disparities for years to come. Women should be able to decide what they want to do with their bodies and hence Georgia’s new law allows that. Legalizing abortion is not only a way to empower women but also a way to improve the overall economy of the state and the country as a whole.
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