One week after the leaked draft of Supreme Justice Samuel Alito signaled the striking down of Roe vs. Wade, Georgia politicians are stepping up their efforts to support Alito or reaffirm Roe.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Alito wrote for the majority.
Monday morning, State Rep. Dar’Shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, is hopeful for one or two Justices to reaffirm their support for Roe. While she organized a press conference Monday morning, she is planning for the worst.
“The party of liberty is all for liberty until we start talking about women’s bodies,” Kendrick said. “If Roe v. Wade is overturned instead of the focus of your state government being on ‘table issues’ like jobs and healthcare, Georgia’s conservatives, mostly male conservatives, will focus on regulating women’s bodies – prioritizing things that are none of their business over things that are all of our [collective] businesses one of 10.5 million citizens in this state.”
State Representative Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, speaks during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, May 9, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)
House Bill 481 was passed on April 7, 2019. At that time, Republican State Representative Ed Setzler of Ackworth, was the primary sponsor of the legislation. The “heartbeat abortion bill” banned abortion procedures after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is at about six weeks gestation.
“I think this is a circumstance where the court is righting a wrong of the past in a way that jives with science, law and just good, old common sense,” said state Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth.
Friday afternoon, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue is calling for a special session to outlaw all abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Governor Brian Kemp has not taken that stance.
“I actually call for the governor to step where I am and let’s get shoulder to shoulder on this issue,” Perdue said. “This should be all of us protecting life and that sort of thing. I didn’t do this for a political reason. I did it because I felt morally correct.”
For more than thirty years, conservatives have campaigned on their promises to strike down Roe, then outlaw abortion in all of its forms. However, in Georgia, where the electorate is shifting toward more progressive ideologies, those calls to strike down abortion might becoming more hollow.
According to research from Public Religion Research Institute, Pew Research Center and the Guttmacher Institute, 49% of Georgians support abortion, while 46% are against it. Nationally, 69% of Americans support reaffirming Roe, compared to the 30% that are opposed.
State Representative Betsy Holland speaks during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, May 9, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)
“Abortion is used oftentimes when a pregnancy is not viable,” explained Georgia State Representative Stacey Evans, D-Ringgold. “We are not supposed to be a whole society that tells a woman that she has to carry around a fetus, that will not make it to a full term. We tell her right now under the law, that she does not have to give birth to something that is not viable.”
Georgia Democrats also used the press conference to drive home the importance of voting in the 2022 Midterm Elections.
“The Preamble to The Constitution says, ‘We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice and secure the blessing of Liberty to ourselves.’ That liberty includes keeping governments out of our bedrooms and private lives,” said Kendrick. The Constitution is a living, breathing document meant to adapt to changing times and to guarantee lives of all Americans, not just those with certain body parts, rights that are unimpeded by the states.”
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