The new anti-abortion legislation signed by Governor Brian Kemp (R-Georgia) is one of the most restrictive in the nation. But Kemp appears to be far less interested in protecting life after it’s born.
Kemp’s Medicaid expansion falls well short of providing insurance for all low-income children in Georgia. Instead, it only covers those making $12,000 a year or less. This not only falls short of the $16,000 that would qualify as a “full” Medicaid expansion, but also falls short of the threshold at which Affordable Care Act subsidies become available.
Instead of closing the coverage gap, Kemp has left some Georgian families without coverage, which raises questions about the true motive behind the state’s new, extreme, anti-abortion legislation.
As Grit Post has previously reported, this legislation would empower the State of Georgia to investigate as a crime any miscarriages women have to determine if they were caused intentionally or by recklessness. It would require that women protect a fetus they, in many cases, don’t know they’re carrying.
“Any woman who suffers a miscarriage could be subject to scrutiny regarding whether or not she intentionally acted to cause that miscarriage,” explained State Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta).
Jordan’s blistering dissent described a Handmaid’s Tale-style world where women’s bodies are strictly controlled by government, and where any action that could harm a fetus would be put before a jury to determine if her actions were criminally reckless.
“She would be at risk of a criminal indictment for virtually any perceived self-destructive behavior during pregnancy that could cause miscarriage, to wit: Smoking, drinking, using drugs, using legal medications; driving while under the influence, or any other dangerous or reckless conduct,” said Jordan. “Any issue of whether a woman who has participated in this risky behavior intended to cause her subsequent miscarriage — as a lawyer, I can tell you — would be a jury question.”
Groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to Planned Parenthood Southeast to the Center for Reproductive Rights have called the law unconstitutional.
Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said she had “one message for Governor Kemp: We’ll see you in court.”
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.