Jan 27, 2022 - News

Georgia bill would add abortion restrictions

Gavel crushing a pill

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

About a month after the Food and Drug Administration said it’s making abortion pills permanently accessible through telemedicine and mail, some Georgia Republicans have proposed undermining that move and further restricting abortion access.

What’s happening: Top Republicans in the Georgia state Senate introduced a bill that would prevent people from accessing abortion pills by mail and add hurdles for abortion seekers.

  • But the bill has a long way to go before becoming law.

The details: The measure would ban the delivery of abortion medication via courier, delivery, telemedicine or mail service and ban the administration of abortion medication in any school facility or on state grounds, including public universities and colleges.

  • It would require a physician to have a patient sign a “consent authorization form in person” and conduct an examination 24 hours before a medication abortion.
  • It would add a new ultrasound requirement for anyone seeking an abortion.
  • An abortion provider who doesn’t follow the rules would be subject to legal penalties.

Catch up quick: In 2019, Georgia Republicans passed a law that bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That law is stalled in U.S. District Court, awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court.

What theyre saying: The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Bruce Thompson, tells Axios the measure “doesn’t restrict abortion” but is about “the care of the woman” so they have a physician on the ground in case of a reaction.

  • The FDA has determined the abortion medication drugs to be “safe and effective when used to terminate a pregnancy” and found, that in two decades, less than one tenth of one percent of “abortion pill” users have had adverse effects.
  • In 2017, nearly half of Georgia counties did not have an OB-GYN.

The other side: Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, calls the bill “a kitchen sink of barriers” to abortion access and “just another example of politicians sticking their nose in places where they’re not experts.”

  • NARAL Pro-Choice America Southeast campaigns director Alicia Stallworth calls the bill “medically unnecessary and politically motivated” and says “the truth is medication abortion care has long been deemed a safe and effective option for ending an early pregnancy.”

The big picture: This kind of proposal isn’t new. Thompson says he has worked with anti-abortion group APR on the language for years. Other states have passed similar measures.

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