Terrible New Law Requires Women to Give Birth to Nonviable Fetuses

Georgia is just a governor's signature away from totally banning abortions that occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy under the dubious assertion that at that point, fetuses can feel pain. Anti-abortion advocates crow that this is a positive step toward protecting life, but where this law is totally and irredeemably fucked up is in its requirement that women carry fetuses that couldn't possibly survive outside the womb give birth. The caring, life-protecting guardian angels in the Georgia state legislature compassionately refused to offer any mental health exceptions to the ban, either, so if you're in Georgia, pregnant, and mentally ill, tough shit. You should have thought about the possibility of state-enforced health endangerment before you opened your legs.

The journey of HB 954 from terrible idea to unbelievably shitty law was a long and twisted one. When the 20-week abortion ban was initially proposed, one legislator explained that because livestock carrying nonviable or stillborn baby livestock give birth to dead baby pigs and cows and stuff, women must also carry the dead babies they're carrying, because, uh, that's just the way things are. Another legislator proposed sarcastic counter-legislation, suggesting that vasectomies should be banned in the state of Georgia because the male sterilization procedure prevents babies from being conceived. There was a fistfight in the lobby of the state capitol. Female legislators walked out in disgust and joined protesters in the hallway during the vote.

The law that eventually passed was a "compromise" version of the original proposed law, which didn't offer any exemptions for fetuses with abnormalities that would make it impossible to survive outside of the womb. In the previous version, women would have to carry their completely nonviable fetus to term, giving birth to a baby that would inevitably die. But now, under the compromise, women carrying nonviable fetuses will be allowed to have abortions after 20 weeks but before the woman would otherwise give birth naturally, provided the abortion procedure occurs outside of the woman's body. So, in other words, the law will require women to give birth to their nonviable fetuses rather than have the abortion occur internally. Maybe it's just me, but I was under the impression that a "compromise" was a word that meant, roughly, "an agreement between two opposing sides that renders the solution slightly more acceptable for both parties," not "a steamrolling by one side that makes the solution more horrible in a totally new way." A proposed 20-week abortion ban exception for the mental health of the mother was voted down. Because fetuses can feel pain, but not women.

The state's Republican governor, Nathan Deal, is expected to sign the bill into law. After all, he's pro-life, and there's nothing more pro-life than forcing women to give birth to dead babies.

At 11th hour, Georgia passes 'women as livestock' bill [Ms]