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Georgia ‘Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act’ (SB 218)

This law was last updated on Mar 1, 2019


SB 218 is an omnibus abortion bill that would—among other things—ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected; and recognize 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 who qualify for state income tax deductions and state population based determinations.

Personhood

The bill would include embryos and fetuses in state population based determinations.

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 would prohibit abortion when a fetus has been determined to have a heartbeat, except when it’s necessary to prevent 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; or to preserve the life of the “unborn child.”

TRAP

The bill would require 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 would need to be a licensed physician.

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

Informed Consent

The bill would require 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 would need to include the following additional statement:

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

Lethal Fetal Anomaly

Current state law prohibits the performance of an abortion without first determining the gestational age of the fetus, except in cases of medical emergency or when a pregnancy is diagnosed as medically futile.

Besides amending the requirement to determine a fetal heartbeat instead of the gestational age, the bill would remove the exception for when a pregnancy is diagnosed as medically futile.

Reporting Requirements

The bill would amend 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 would extend 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 HB 481.


Latest Action

2/27/19 – Introduced.


People