First, a quick fact. Only 1.4% of abortions take place after
the 20th week of gestation. At that point, the choice is often made due to
serious complications that endanger the health of the child, mother, or both. So,
Georgia’s HB 954. In short, it bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Supporters call it the “fetal pain bill”, because the justification is that
fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. (There is no medical evidence to support
this.) Opponents call it the “women as livestock bill”, because… Well, you’ll
Here comes the crazy. Be careful, it sneaks up on you.
Crazy – The original version of the bill made no exception
for rape, incest, health of the mother (you know, the usual), OR viability of
the fetus. Many serious birth defects can only be detected after 20 weeks, so
the main effect of the bill would be to force women to carry a non-viable (or
non-alive) fetus to term and delivery.
Crazier – The bill got national attention because State Rep.
Terry England expressed his compassion for women in this situation thusly;
“I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive — delivering
pigs, dead and alive. … It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.”
He’s not unsympathetic, see? He feels for us ladies, just like he felt for
Craziest – The version that passed – aka, is now law – made
a compromise. The idea is to keep the fetus alive as long as possible, even
when the reason for the abortion is that it has no chance of survival. Here’s
the solution; If the doctor determines the fetus is not viable (the mother gets
no say) and it’s been over 20 weeks, she can have an abortion. But first, she
has to deliver the child vaginally or have a C-section – the abortion has to
take place outside the mother’s body. And if the doctor thinks vaginal delivery
might endanger the fetus on its way to abortion, that doctor is legally
required to perform a C-section instead, regardless of the woman’s wishes, or
face jail time.
I told you.
Google ‘Georgia HB 954’ or ‘fetal pain bill’ to learn more.