The Senate is on the verge of passing a bill that will put Georgia on par with Mississippi in its treatment of women’s rights and reproductive health. Sadly, both state’s have poor records on women and children’s health. But GOP legislators persist upon insisting that women do as they say.
And what happened to the Equal Rights Amendment after Sen. Unterman made a big deal out of co-sponsoring equal rights for women? Trick question!
Back to the main point: Judy showed me the letter she sent to legislators re HB 481, Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill.” It’s very well-reasoned, and has eleven footnotes with live links to the sources, aka receipts. My late father, a historian, would be proud.
Here’s a link to the page for the bill on the General Assembly’s website. The Medical Association of Georgia has also come out strongly against the bill. Here’s the MAG Letter. And here’s an interesting article on HB481 by the AJC’s Jim Galloway.
March 21, 2019
Dear Senator Unterman,
I respectfully ask you to consider the consequences of HB 481 below, and vote no:
1. Georgia’s healthcare services for women, already dismal, would worsen.
79 counties – half the counties – have no obstetrician/gynecologist, 64 counties have no pediatrician, and 9 counties have no doctor.1
Georgia ranks #1 in maternal deaths in the nation.2
Georgia is the #8 worst state for working mothers.3
2. Access to women’s medical care would drain Georgia’s pool of OBGYNs. According to a survey of OBGYN residents4:
76% say they are more concerned about being sued as a physician.
88% say they are not more likely to stay in Georgia after finishing residency practice
88% say Georgia will not become a more attractive state in which to practice obstetrics.
3. Forcing victims of rape or incest to file a police report to receive an abortion is cruel.
Fear of retaliation and the belief that police will not do anything to help are top reasons women don’t report sexual violent crimes.5
Only 23% of rapes or sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement.6
Over 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report these crimes7.
4. Listen to what the most knowledgeable in the field – women healthcare professionals and organizations – have to say:
Seventeen medical professionals spoke in opposition to this bill on March 14, 2019 with concerns ranging from liberties taken on definitions of an “unborn child” and “determination of death” to extremely strict language regarding near catastrophic conditions for the woman’s life.8
The Medical Association of Georgia, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, American Public Health Association, Georgia Maternal & Infant Health Research Group, Georgia Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, National Academics of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine oppose this bill.8,9
Defending this unconstitutional bill would be costly. While some legislators are cheerleading this step, it’s unwise. Georgia would be on the books as a state that does not value women’s healthcare. Plus, it’s an abuse of our taxpayer dollars and resources. Instead, our legislature should focus on how to reduce Georgia’s mortality among pregnant women and ultimately improve women’s healthcare.
I’ll close with what citizens say: 58% of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases10 and 71% of voters believe Roe vs Wade should not be overturned11. Please take all of the above into account and vote no on HB 481.
Thank you for your service.
4 John Walraven, a lobbyist representing Georgia Reproductive Endocrinologists, https://livestream.com/accounts/25225476/events/8517487/videos/188691591 2:39:40
https://www.ajc.com/blog/politics/the-jolt-medical-association-georgia-opposes-heartbeat- bill/vrftEsEfXU6Doou4Ndm2LP/?utm_source=newspaper&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=7675355&ecmp=newspaper_email& and
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