Politics

Abortion-Rights Activists Rally At Georgia Capitol

Abortion-rights activists pack the west steps of the Georgia Capitol to protest anti-abortion laws in Georgia and across the country.
Abortion-rights activists pack the west steps of the Georgia Capitol to protest anti-abortion laws in Georgia and across the country.
Credit Sam Whitehead / WABE

Abortion-rights activists are not cooling their opposition to laws that restrict access to abortion in Georgia and across the country.

Hundreds gathered in Atlanta Tuesday as part of a national day of action against the measures that could challenge the abortion protections established in Roe v. Wade.

“When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” chanted the protesters who packed the west steps of the Georgia Capitol carrying colorful signs.

The organizers of the event included the local chapters of groups such as the ACLU, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and Sister Song.

The event was one of many held at statehouses and courthouses from coast to coast protesting the wave of anti-abortion measures passed by conservative state lawmakers in a number of states.

>Related: ‘A Look At Georgia’s New ‘Heartbeat Bill’ And What Happens Next’

“This abortion ban, like many across the nation, demonstrates a coordinated attack on the reproductive autonomy of our country’s most vulnerable communities,” said Sequoia Ayala, with the reproductive rights group SisterLove, speaking of Georgia’s abortion law.

The measure, signed into law earlier this month, bans most abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That’s generally around the time that cardiac activity can be detected in the womb.

The law does allow some exceptions to protect the life of the mother,  in the event a doctor determines a pregnancy is “medically futile”, or in the case of rape of incest if a police report has been filed.

One protester, Milia Akkouris, says she worries restricting access to abortion will put women’s health at risk.

“The lives of women are in jeopardy when they cannot plan their lives, when they don’t have choice and freedom,” she said. “We really need to speak out about it.”

Like many abortion-rights supporters, Akkouris worries anti-abortion laws in Georgia and other states will eventually make it to the Supreme Court and could roll back access to the medical procedure. Many who support laws hope the same thing.

>Related: ‘US Supreme Court Could Decide Not To Revisit 1973 Abortion Ruling’

For now, abortion is still legal in Georgia during the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy. The law restricting it around six weeks won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2020.

In the meantime, a legal fight is brewing. The ACLU of Georgia says they’ll sue over the measure sometime this summer.