Protecting Life in Georgia

Gov. Kemp: 'I am signing HB 481 to ensure all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper'

Brian Kemp
Brian Kemp / Getty Images

Pro-life organizations are praising Republican governor Brian Kemp for signing a law that will protect many babies who were previously vulnerable to abortion.

On Tuesday, Kemp will sign the state's Heartbeat bill to outlaw most abortions on babies who have a detectable heartbeat, which typically occurs six weeks after conception. The new bill, dubbed the LIFE ACT, is designed to protect "those who cannot speak for themselves."

"The LIFE Act reaffirms Georgia's commitment to life and the rights of the innocent unborn," Gov. Kemp said in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. "I am signing HB 481 to ensure that all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper in this great state."

The bill passed the Georgia legislator in March despite outcry from Hollywood celebrities and pro-abortion activists. The state Senate voted 34-18 to pass the heartbeat bill, while the measure enjoyed a 92-78 majority in the General Assembly. Gov. Kemp said the legislation sends a clear message that the state stands by vulnerable residents and gives them the ability to thrive no matter their station in life.

"We stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves," he said.

Pro-life organizations welcomed the news that Kemp would sign the bill into law. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said such laws are needed to counter "extremist Democrats" who have passed late term abortion laws in New York and other states, as well as blocked legislation at the federal and state level aimed at providing care to newborns who survive abortion. She said Gov. Kemp's principled decision is more in line with the views of most Americans than his opponents.

"This victory in Georgia is further proof that extremist Democrats in New York, Virginia, and several other states, as well as in Congress, do not speak for the vast majority of Americans in their support for abortion on demand through birth and even infanticide. Their overreach is driving pro-life momentum like we've never seen with numerous states taking action to protect unborn children from their first heartbeats," Dannenfelser said. "We thank Gov. Kemp and the Georgia legislature for standing up to Hollywood's pro-abortion bullies and showing particular courage in this fight."

Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, the political arm of the annual pro-life march, said that the organization supports any effort to protect the lives of unborn children. He predicted that the bill will face a legal challenge, but is confident it can survive.

"Anytime a state moves forward in the cause of protecting life it is a time for celebration," McClusky said. "We look forward to watching how this bill proceeds in the courts."

Georgia is not alone in approving bills to protect babies at early stages of pregnancy. Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Ohio have all adopted similar bills in recent years.