Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll of Georgia voters found that a majority of residents do not want the LIFE Act, which will ban abortions after fetal heartbeat, to go into effect. In spite of this, elected officials in Georgia moved to make the bill enforceable only hours after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in their June 24 decision on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who is up for reelection this year, asked the 11th District Court of Appeals to allow the 2019 LIFE Act to immediately take effect. Carr has said that his “personal belief is that abortion should be prohibited in Georgia except when the life of the mother is at risk,” not allowing for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. Governor Brian Kemp, also up for reelection this year, praised the Supreme Court decision as “a historic victory for life,” saying that he hopes that the LIFE Act “will be fully implemented” in Georgia.
Several Republican candidates in the state have said they do not believe the LIFE Act goes far enough. State House of Representatives candidates Mitchell Horner (GA-03), Charlice Byrd (GA-20), and William Harris (GA-126) all have endorsements from the Georgia Right to Life (GRTL). Before the GRTL will endorse someone, the candidate must sign a document saying they are in full agreement with GRTL stances on abortion. This means that Horner, Byrd, and Harris have all signed documents saying they do not support abortion under any circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the parent is at risk.
The Democratic Party of Georgia appears to be more in line with the opinions of Georgia voters, and vowed to “fight like never before to protect abortion rights and elect pro-choice leaders who will safeguard our freedoms.” In 2019 when the LIFE Act was first passed, just a single Democrat voted in favor of the bill, while 123 of the 139 Republican legislators voted in favor. The unpopular law is likely to go into effect soon, and the election this November will be the last time for Georgia voters to make their wishes known for the next two years.