The very first bill prefiled in Georgia’s state legislature for the next session, HB 1, would require women to go to court in order to obtain a “death warrant” to receive an abortion. The bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Bobby Franklin, is not expected to pass, according to the Associated Press, but its existence indicates the chilly climate in Georgia for reproductive rights.
Franklin contends that his concern is restoring the “14th Amendment due-process rights of the unborn,” according to WorldNetDaily, a conservative Christian Internet news site. Franklin’s bill would require women seeking abortions to first file a petition in court for a “death warrant.” A guardian to “protect the rights of the fetus” would then be appointed by the court. A jury trial would be held within 30 days of the filing, balancing the “rights” of the fetus against those of the woman. Physicians performing abortions (which would be renamed “executions” under the terms of the bill) without a “death warrant” would face felony charges, their licenses to practice medicine would be revoked, and they could serve jail time.
Ebony Barley of the Georgia Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League called this “the most grotesque bill we’ve seen,” according to AP. The bill is not widely supported among Republican members of the Georgia legislature or among opponents of abortion rights, who fear the bill makes them appear “extreme and unreasonable,” AP reports.