The Red & Black recently published an opinion piece lamenting how Georgia’s LIFE Act “shows a disturbing regression of women’s rights.”
The author lays out several arguments against our Heartbeat Bill that I have heard around the Capitol and regularly in the media, so I wanted to take a moment to explore these arguments a little more in depth.
The author says that it is unfair to limit abortion to 6 weeks and reduce the time in which a mother has to consider ending her child’s life.
While the author omits that the 6-week old baby has a heartbeat, lungs, nose, and complex formations of the brain, her underlying argument is that the child’s right to life does not overcome the mother’s right to preference. But why? A matter of dependence?
The baby in the womb is undoubtedly physically dependent upon her mother. And so is the newborn, the infant, and the toddler. But, I hope, the author is not arguing in favor of a mother’s right to end the life of her toddler.
Or, perhaps, it is a matter of biological development, and the author is opposed to babies with beating hearts having a right to life. If that is the case, which developmental milestone should protect a child from being killed? When the child obtains higher brain function and has an awareness of self? But, that doesn’t happen until 24 months. And, again, I hope, the author is not arguing against a toddler’s right to life.
Another problem the author lists with the bill is that it was passed by a legislature that is comprised mostly by “old white men” who are “governing a woman’s body.”
I can see how this would be frustrating. In the interest of ensuring that old white men don’t overstep their bounds by governing other demographic groups they do not belong to, I presume that the author is also in opposition to:
- HB345, which prohibits shackling pregnant inmates; passed by old white men.
- HB426, which would protect minority and LGBTQ victims of hate crimes; passed by old white men in the House.
- SB106, which will increase access to healthcare for low income Georgians; passed by old white men.
- The Rape Survivor Custody Act, which terminates parental rights to men who impregnate women via nonconsensual sexual intercourse; passed by old white men.
- The Thirteenth Amendments, which ended slavery; passed by old white men.
- And even Roe v. Wade, which expanded abortion rights nationwide, ruled on by 6 white men.
I’ll await the author’s opinion piece regarding these additional injustices perpetrated by old white men.
The author states that “a woman’s right to her body is a constitutional right.” The only issue with that blanket statement is that it is legally and scientifically inaccurate on all fronts.
Actual legal scholar John Hart Ely repudiated Roe in a 1973 article in the Yale Law Journal, stating that it “is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Also adding that abortion “…is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers’ thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation’s governmental structure.”
In layman’s terms, Roe is merely an exercise in egregious judicial activism that lacks substantive justification anywhere in the Constitution to rest upon.
This is evidenced by Justice Blackmun’s (who ruled in favor of Roe) comments during oral arguments at the Supreme Court, when he stated, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment.”
Justice Blackmun is 100% correct. This is why The LIFE Act rests its entire foundation upon the premise that a child is a person, as demonstrated by labeling a child in the womb as a natural person, including them in our state population count, providing a tax exemption for them, and extending child support to cover them.
HB481 not only accommodates the logic of the Roe decision, it adheres to the very specific parameters it laid out for a state’s compelling interest to protect a child’s right to life to be found constitutionally valid.
Georgia is leading the nation in recognizing and protecting the rights of the vulnerable and the oppressed. The only disturbing regression here is the lack of journalistic understanding by so many when covering the most pro-life and pro-woman piece of legislation ever passed in our state.
Joshua Edmonds is the Executive Director of Georgia Life Alliance, the state affiliate for National Right to Life.