ATLANTA – Jericho Morton didn’t realize she was pregnant until about six weeks into her pregnancy. She soon began to feel intense nausea.
“I can’t smell anything. You are so weak that you have to lie down all the time. It’s rough, ”Morton, 27, said recently as he sat down at a planned parenthood clinic in Atlanta.
Morton’s hyperemesis gravidarum or severe nausea is caught during pregnancy. She thought she couldn’t manage nine months of being sick, she said, so she chose to have an abortion.
At the clinic, when she took her medication abortion pills, Morton estimated she was eight weeks pregnant. A law in Georgia is currently on hold – but will probably take effect soon – making the procedure illegal within about six weeks, with few exceptions.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s taking away their choice before they even find out, ”Morton said.
In Georgia, as in other parts of the country, women may soon have less access to abortion that the U.S. Supreme Court has now ruled. Dobs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Agency. Like the draft judgment leaked in May, it strikes at the abortion protection provided by the 1973 landmark Rowe vs. Wade Empowers cases and states to control procedures
Patients and providers need to figure out how to navigate the new legal landscape. The changes in Georgia’s law will be felt throughout the region, as the state serves as a destination for people seeking abortions.
In 2019, Georgia had more abortions for out-of-state residents than any other southern state – and in almost every state in the country, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That year, there were 6,500 abortions performed in Georgia by people who did not live there.
Access to abortion is already a campaign issue in Georgia. And that’s where one of the many states is Dobbs Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Gutmachar Institute, a research firm that supports the right to abortion, said the decision would set a cascade of legal and legal measures limiting access to abortion.
The state’s conservative political leadership has made abortion a goal. In 2019, Georgia legislators passed a bill banning most abortions after identifying fetal or fetal cardiac activity in the womb, which can occur within six weeks of pregnancy. The law also contains so-called “personality” language, which gives the fetus legal status when cardiac activity is detected. That language can have far-reaching implications, Nash said, and can affect every part of Georgia’s legal code about an individual’s rights.
“We don’t know how far the states will go, but it’s clear they’re not stopping abortions,” Nash said.
A legal challenge has prevented the law from being enforced. Late last year, a federal appeals court suspended review of the case while it was awaiting a verdict. Dobbs.
Some states have established protections for the right to abortion. But, according to a Guttmacher analysis, in several states, such as Kentucky, because of the so-called trigger ban in effect, abortion will be declared illegal immediately, with few exceptions. This arrangement, pass in advance Dobbs The decision, if severely limited access to abortion Rowe No longer applicable. In other states, such as Tennessee, such bans will take effect after 30 days.
“A big problem is that patients can see that the Supreme Court has issued a decision and can automatically assume that abortion is prohibited,” Nash says.
While people may still have access to abortions, he said they will probably have a hard time understanding what the laws are. This may limit the number of procedures performed.
The decision could also inspire opponents of abortion, Nash said, who are planning to impose more restrictions on methods and other forms of reproductive care.
Andrea Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University, said abortions would come in a lot of running for statewide and local offices.
Democrats are using the issue to rally their base voters, Gillespie said, to try to counter some of the headwinds they face in the midterm elections, when the party in control of the White House usually suffers. He said Republicans may now have to find new reasons to inspire single-issue anti-abortion voters. Rowe Has been reversed.
Georgia’s changing politics and population raises questions about what voters would like to see in abortion policy.
According to a January 2022 survey by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, the majority of Georgian voters support access to abortion. Approximately two-thirds of respondents said they did not want the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal abortion protection Rowe.
Democratic Governorate candidate Stacey Abrams says she plans to make abortion a major issue in her campaign. After a while Dobbs The draft opinion was leaked, he asked potential donors to pay the reproductive rights group instead of his campaign. In a video posted on Twitter on Friday, Abrams said he was “terrified.” Dobbs Rule “As Governor of Georgia, I will work every day to ensure affordable and safe access to healthcare for all, including access to abortion,” he said.
His opponent, current Republican Brian Kemp, Continued To support Georgia’s current abortion law. In a statement on Twitter, he called for Friday’s decision Dobbs “A historic victory for life” and he looks forward to its impact on the legal process surrounding Georgia’s six-week ban. One of Kemp’s first legal priorities since taking office in 2019 was to pass legislation.
With a rule in DobbsRon Carlson, an emeritus professor at the University of Georgia’s School of Law, said the law could take effect in weeks or months. The federal appellate court could review the arrangement and allow the law to take effect or send the case back to a lower court that would probably make the same decision, he said. “As legal time goes on, it will be comparatively less,” he said. “They will move in a fairly prompt manner.”
The Feminist Women’s Health Center, a clinic in Atlanta, wants to take advantage of the little time it can have for an abortion, says executive director Kozelin Jackson.
Jackson said he has spoken with other clinics across the South in hopes of taking their patients. “One of the realities we’re trying to prepare for is how we can be able to exploit some of the needs of neighboring states realistically and thoughtfully,” Jackson said. His clinic already serves patients in rural parts of Georgia, Jackson said, as well as patients in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
Lauren Frazier, of Planned Parenthood Southeast, which operates clinics in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, said distance is the only factor that influences patients’ decision to care. Prices, the availability of appointments and social networks also play a role, he said. “For people who may have a family support system somewhere in New York or California, it would make more sense for them to go to the level of support they need,” Frazier said.
Meanwhile, some anti-abortion activists see the decision as an opportunity to make it more difficult for Georgians to access abortion. “Our work is really about to begin,” said Jamie Flake, executive director of Georgia Right to Life.
Georgia’s abortion law doesn’t go far enough, Fleck said, because his party opposes abortion at any time without exception. She said she wanted to see “personality” language in the law included in the state constitution, effectively banning abortion.
Mike Griffin, a public affairs representative for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said his group, an organization of Baptist churches in the state, wanted to limit the distribution of abortion drugs and needed personal counseling for those considering abortion.
Doctors, meanwhile, are weighing what they will be able to care for patients.
Dr. Joy Baker, an OB-GYN in LaGrange, Georgia, has expressed concern about the decision to limit his practice opportunities and is ultimately excluding more people from care – especially if doctors begin to face legal consequences.
Baker points to dozens of counties in Georgia that do not have OB-GYN, which reflects a national shortage.
“If they decide to lock us all up, who will take care of the patients?” Baker asked.
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