Last Thursday marked the end of the annual forty-day legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly. The status of reproductive rights and abortion access in the state reflected the controversial and heated debates going on across the nation, though the assembly ended without passing the restrictions on abortion that other states have faced.
Georgia introduced one bill relating to abortion that was patterned after Nebraska’s “Fetal Pain” bill, limiting abortion after 20 weeks. It was not passed out of committee, angering anti-abortion advocates in the state who had hoped that with a Republican pro-life majority, abortion restrictions would be passed this session.
The House approved a bill that would ban any potential funding for abortions through the health exchanges that are a part of federal health reform law. Both the Senate and House versions of the Affordable Health Choices Act include a Health Insurance Exchange with a public health insurance option. An Insurance Exchange will include both private insurance companies’ plans as well as the public option for individuals and small employers “to find and purchase quality and affordable health insurance in every state.” These health exchanges are being challenged by Georgia and other states.
Although the state has mostly come out in favor of women’s reproductive choices, especially when compared to states like Florida, Kansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska , it has passed other harmful legislation, such as the recent anti-immigration bill, HB 87.