District attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia are refusing to prosecute women who get an abortion under the state’s controversial new “heartbeat” abortion law.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, prosecutors in Georgia’s four most populous counties – Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb – say that if House Bill 481 takes effect, “they would not, or could not, prosecute women under the new law.
The newest law, the most extreme in the country, outlaws abortion as soon as a physician can detect a heartbeat, usually around six weeks. Since the law was signed by Governor Brian Kemp on May 7th, human rights groups have vowed to fight it in court. Unfortunately, that’s just what many anti-abortion lawmakers seem to want. If lawsuits are brought against the law and the case ends up in front of the conservative justices of the Supreme Court, there is a danger of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
“As District Attorney with charging discretion, I will not prosecute individuals pursuant to HB 481 given its ambiguity and constitutional concerns,” DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said. “As a woman and mother, I am concerned about the passage and attempted passage of laws such as this one in Georgia, Alabama, and other states.”
The new law contains extreme language that states a woman who undergoes an abortion from a health care provider “would be a party to murder” and could face life in prison, while a woman who self-terminates a pregnancy will be committing murder, resulting in a life sentence or capital punishment.
“As a matter of law (as opposed to politics) this office will not be prosecuting any women under the new law as long as I’m district attorney,” Gwinnett County DA Danny Porter said in a statement.
Porter believes that he did not think it would be possible to prosecute a woman for either murder or unlawful abortion. John Melvin, acting DA in Cobb County agrees and says he interpreted the law to suggest a woman would not be committing murder if she received an abortion and therefore will “absolutely not” be prosecuting any woman that does so.
Fulton County DA Paul Howard has also stated that “has no intention of ever prosecuting a woman under this new law,” nor will he prosecute abortion providers.
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