Georgia's 6-week abortion ban just passed the state's House — and is headed to the Governor's desk

Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesRepublican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp attends the Election Night event at the Classic Center on November 6, 2018 in Athens, Georgia.
  • Georgia state legislators passed its highly controversial “fetal heartbeat” abortion law on Friday that would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which typically happens at six weeks – and before many women know they are pregnant.
  • The law is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has already expressed his support for the legislation.
  • If passed, the bill would become one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
  • Legislators across the country have put forward similar heartbeat bills.

Georgia state legislators passed its highly controversial “fetal heartbeat” abortion law on Friday that would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected – which can happen as early as six weeks, and before many women even know they are pregnant.

The bill, House Bill 481, known as the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act,” is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has already expressed his support for the legislation. He said in a statement that “Georgia values life” and thanked lawmakers “for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage.”

The ultimate goal for pro-life advocates is to land a case in the U.S. Supreme Court that could challenge the 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling that legalised abortion nationwide – the final blow to abortion rights in the country. Republican Rep. Ed Setzler, who sponsored the legislation, said that Republicans need to pass the law so Kemp can “recruit the best legal team in the nation to take this to the highest court in the land.”

Under current state law, women are allowed to seek an abortion during the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy. If ultimately passed, they would have a fraction of that time to have the procedure – making it one of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia have said that they plan to challenge the bill, and Executive Director Andrea Young described it as “morally outrageous.”

The proposed law faced a slew of controversy: women dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets, to depict the dystopian television series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in which women are controlled by the government and forced to breed, protested at the state’s capitol. Democratic Rep. Dar’Shun Kendrick also introduced a ‘Testicular Bill of Rights’ – which included a vasectomy ban among other requirements – to voice her opposition to the legislation. And those in Hollywood have threatened to move production crews for TV shows and movies out of the state if Kemp signs the bill.

The legislation narrowly passed by 92 to 78 on Friday – just one more vote than what is required for a bill to pass in the House. The bill already passed in the Georgia Senate earlier this month.

Lawmakers in other states have put forth similar bills, with more than a dozen states considering bills that would effectively outlaw abortion, according to Yahoo News. Last week, for example, Mississippi’s Republican governor signed a law that would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Kentucky governor Matt Bevin also signed a similar bill earlier this month, which was quickly challenged by the ACLU and temporarily blocked by a federal judge.

“We will not stop fighting these unconstitutional attacks in Georgia and across the country,” Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion-rights group Naral, said in a statement.

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