May 7, 2019

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs "fetal heartbeat" abortion ban into law

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Georgia became the 4th state this year to prohibit abortions once a doctor can detect the first fetal heartbeat — which can be as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy — after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Georgia criminalizing the procedure at a point when many women remain unaware they are pregnant comes as a growing number of Republican-led state legislatures are seeking to overturn abortion rights. Many conservatives, emboldened by Justice Brett Kavanaugh's elevation last year, are hoping to land a successful suit before the Supreme Court to overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide.

Details: Under current Georgia state law, abortions are allowed up to the 20th week of pregnancy. The fetal heartbeat measure includes an exception for rape and incest — but only when an "official police report has been filed" first alleging either offense — and to save the mother’s life. It would also allow abortions when a fetus is determined not to be viable due to serious medical issues.

The measure won't go into effect until January 2020. It has garnered widespread backlash and will likely be held up by legal challenges, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia already stating that it plans to sue.

"Georgia can't afford to go backwards on women's health and rights. We will act to block this assault on women's health, rights, and self-determination."
— Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, in a statement Monday

The state of play: Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed a similar measure into law last month, as did Mississippi's GOP Gov. Phil Bryant in March. Kentucky’s was temporarily blocked in March by a federal judge shortly after being signed into law. In January, Iowa's measure was declared unconstitutional by a state judge.

Go deeper: A surge of restrictive state abortion bans take aim at Roe v. Wade

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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 62,300 U.S. health care workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and at least 291 have died from the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday. COVID-19 had infected about 9,300 health professionals when the CDC gave its last update on April 17.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 5,589,626 — Total deaths: 350,453 — Total recoveries — 2,286,956Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 1,680,913 — Total deaths: 98,913 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

There are no COVID-19 patients in hospital in New Zealand, which reported just 21 active cases after days of zero new infections. A top NZ health official said Tuesday he's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission."

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).