Legislation recently introduced to the Georgia legislature by House Republican Bobby Franklin would make abortion the legal equivalent of murder and require miscarriages to be investigated by authorities.
The bill, known as HB 1, was uncovered by the progressive blog The Daily Kos.
Franklin’s bill would classify the removal of a fetus from a woman for any reason other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus as “prenatal murder.” Physicians indicted for alleged “prenatal murder” would have their license suspended until they were found innocent of the crime.
Although the legislation would not place any criminal penalties on natural spontaneous abortions, it would require miscarriages to be reported by hospitals and other medical institutions, and a fetal death certificate issued.
Authorities would be required to investigate the cause of fetal death in cases where a miscarriage occurs without attendance at a medical facility.
“The State of Georgia has the duty to protect all innocent life from the moment of conception until natural death,” the bill stated. “We know that life begins at conception. After nearly four decades of legal human prenatal murder, it is now abundantly clear that the practice has negatively impacted the people of this state in many ways, including economic, health, physical, psychological, emotional, and medical well-being.”
If passed, the legislation (.pdf) would amend state criminal law “in the context of a number of statutes making reference to circumstances where there has not yet been a criminal conviction; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”
Critics said that they feared Franklin’s bill would decrease reports of rape, which is itself already an underreported crime (.pdf), according to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
The Facebook page for State Rep. Franklin was teeming with angry comments about the two pieces of legislation on Tuesday.
“Have you had the nightmare of experiencing rape or miscarriage?” one woman asked. “It must be nice to think you have the right to define and legislate things you have no clue about.”
Eric W. Dolan
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