GEORGIA — A federal appeals court has ruled that Georgia’s controversial “heartbeat” abortion bill is constitutional, a decision which has left Georgians on both side of the political spectrum with strong opinions.
The controversial bill would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically around the sixth week of pregnancy.
Several district attorneys across Georgia say they will not go after these cases, meaning women in counties like Fulton could avoid prosecution and being sent to jail for getting an abortion.
“Abortion is a crime,” Abigail Darnell of Georgia Right to Life told Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln.
“It is a public health crisis that no one, no one has been prepared for,” Dazon Dixon Diallo said.
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It’s a polarizing decision cementing the reality of abortion rights in the state of Georgia.
“These people who want to go after abortion like it’s the absolute crime of the century,” Diallo said.
Dixon, founder of Sister Love, has spent 33 years advocating for abortion rights for Georgia women. After Wednesday’s ruling, she said, “we have to ramp up sexual health education.”
She says today’s decision by the 11th circuit court ruling Georgia’s Heartbeat Law should be allowed after the landmark Supreme Court decision to dissolve federal abortion protections is a detriment for women.
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“It’s not only not going to stop people from getting abortions, it’s actually endangering more lives,” Dixon said.
“I have mixed feelings about the heartbeat law because it fails to protect all preborn children,” Darnell said.
Darnell with Georgia Right to Life says while she agrees with the federal court’s decision, she thinks Georgia’s law isn’t strict enough.
“It doesn’t protect children prior to six weeks, it has exceptions that are extremely discriminatory, discriminates against babies conceived from rape and incest or babies expected of having a fetal abnormality, so they are not protected,” she said.
While federal measures are rolling into place making abortion illegal some local district attorneys say they have no plans to prosecute abortion cases.
“District Attorneys’ don’t write the law and they have a responsibility, just like anyone else to protect human life,” Darnell said.
District attorneys in Gwinnett, Dekalb, Fulton, Clayton and Athens-Clark County say they will not prosecute abortion cases, joining a growing list of district attorneys across the county who’ve signed an open letter to not prosecute.
Cobb County said they’ll be assessing prosecutions on a case-by-case basis and Cherokee County district attorney says they have every intent on following the law.
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“Now that they say there will be action in some of those counties some of those jurisdictions so act according,” Diallo said.
“I don’t think we’ll have true justice until there is no murder legal in Georgia,” Darnell said.
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