Georgia ‘Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act’ (HB 481)

This law was last updated on May 7, 2019


HB 481 is an omnibus abortion bill that—among other things—bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected; and recognizes fetuses as natural persons who qualify for state income tax deductions and state population based determinations.

Legislative Findings

The bill declares the following:

It shall be the policy of the State of Georgia to recognize the presence of a fetal heartbeat as the point of “fetal viability,” creating a compelling state interest to protect “the independent essence of the second life” as an “object of state protection” from abortion; and

It shall be the policy of the State of Georgia to recognize unborn children as natural persons.

Personhood

The bill amends state law to define “natural person” to mean “any human being including an unborn child.”

The bill includes embryos and fetuses in state population based determinations.

The bill amends the state tax code to redefine “dependent” to allow a fetus at any stage of development to qualify as a dependent minor.

Heartbeat Abortion Ban

Except in cases of medical emergency, no abortion may be performed or attempted to be performed unless the physician performing the procedure has first made a determination of the presence of a human heartbeat.


A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many people even realize that they are pregnant.


The bill prohibits abortion when a fetus has been determined to have a heartbeat unless the pregnancy is diagnosed as medically futile, or except when the abortion:

  • is necessary to avert the death of the pregnant person or avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person;
  • is necessary to preserve the life of the fetus; or
  • a pregnancy at 20 weeks or earlier is the result from rape or incest (and such offense was reported to law enforcement).

TRAP

The bill requires any abortion performed after the first trimester to be performed in a licensed hospital, in a licensed ambulatory surgical center, or in a health facility licensed as an abortion facility by the state Department of Community Health.

Any person who performs an abortion must be a licensed physician.

The bill requires all physician, hospital, or other health-care facility records to be made available to local law enforcement agencies.

Informed Consent

The bill requires a physician to inform the pregnant patient of the presence of a fetal heartbeat at the time the abortion would be performed.

Informational materials provided by the state must include the following additional statement:

“By six weeks’ gestation, the unborn child has a human heartbeat.”

Reporting Requirements

The bill amends requirements for abortion reports to require physicians to include information on the determination of the presence of a fetal heartbeat.

Fetal Homicide

In every case of the homicide of a child, current state law allows there to be some party entitled to recover the full value of the life of the child. The bill extends this to apply to the homicide of a “child carried in the womb,” at the point at which a heartbeat is detected.


Related Legislation

Companion bill to SB 218.


Latest Action

2/25/19 – Introduced.

3/7/19 – Amended; Passed the House by a 93-73 vote.

3/18/19 – Passed senate science and technology committee by a 3-2 vote.

3/22/19 – Passed the Senate by a 34-18 vote.

3/29/19 – Concurred in the House by a 92-78 vote.

5/7/19 – Signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.


People