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Tuesday 20th March 2018

US State Defies Abortion Rights Advocates with "Heartbeat Bill"

Politics

7Dnews London

Sat, 30 Mar 2019 12:50 GMT

The US state of Georgia has approved a bill banning abortion and also seeks to limit access to abortions, despite the opposition of major human rights groups against the issue, AFP reported.

The right to abortion is one of the most divisive topics in American society. And the governor of Georgia was expected to sign a bill banning abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected, after legislators on Friday March 29th approved the text, which Hollywood celebrities have vowed to fight.

"Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves," governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, wrote in a statement congratulating legislators on their decision. 

The country's major human rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union, vowed a legal challenge. "If Gov. Kemp signs this abortion ban bill into law, the ACLU has one message: we will see you in court," said Andrea Young, ACLU's executive director for Georgia.

The "heartbeat bill" is approved by 13 US states that have studied or approved versions of the bill this year.

Although judges in Kentucky and Iowa blocked such laws, the aim of those who promote the legislation is to reach the Supreme Court, and reverse the right to abortion at the national level, according to Planned Parenthood, the largest organization supporting abortion rights.

The US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 with its decision following the landmark legal case of Roe v. Wade, when Roe, a resident of Texas sought to terminate her pregnancy, but under Texas's restrictive laws was unable to do so. The Supreme Court found the Texas law to be unconstitutional, and that it was a fundamental right to have an abortion under the Constitution.

Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has named two justices to the Supreme Court who oppose abortion, and leading pro-abortion activists who support abortion rights fear that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

Georgia is an important destination for film and television production, but dozens of Hollywood celebrities threatened to take their business elsewhere if the law takes effect.

"We will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women" if the bill is approved, said a letter to lawmakers signed by Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Mia Farrow and others.


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