On Tuesday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill which makes nearly all abortions in the state illegal, becoming the latest state to try and control a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions without interference.
But according to Georgia state Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R), the fetal heartbeat bill makes perfect sense because if you go to a hospital, they’re going to check your pulse to determine a sign of life.
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Yes, he actually said that.
Appearing on Fox News, Loudermilk — who has zero medical training or expertise — had the audacity to remark:
“The critical part of this is, look, the heartbeat has been used in science for many, many, many years as a detection of life,” he explained. “If you are in the hospital, if you’re having issues, they are checking for heartbeat, to see ‘Do you have a heartbeat?’ That’s gonna tell the doctors whether you’re alive or not. These babies that have heartbeats have a complete circulatory system. You can take an image of a child at that stage of life and show it to a young child and they are going to identify that is a baby.”
As ThinkProgress notes, the Georgia law, HB 481, is unconstitutional on its face:
HB 481, prohibits virtually all abortion after the time when a physician can first detect cardiac activity — as early as six weeks’ gestation — long before many people even know they’re pregnant and well before a fetus is actually viable outside the womb, which is usually between 24 and 28 weeks. It also grants embryos and fetuses the same legal rights — including tax deductions — as other “natural persons.”
Pro-choice activists have already signaled that they plan to fight HB 481 in the courts. Elisabeth Smith, chief counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement:
“Bans like this have always been blocked by courts. We will be suing Georgia to make sure this law has the same fate.”
Ironically, under Georgia law and the 1981 Uniform Determination of Death Act, a pulse is not a viable standard to determine life in a person. It clearly states that a person is considered dead when they suffer “irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.”
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