Reproductive Freedom Act seeks to repeal Georgia's H.B. 481 abortion ban
General Assembly Democrats are introducing legislation that would safeguard abortion access in Georgia.
The Reproductive Freedom Act calls for repealing House Bill 481’s abortion restrictions and expanding Georgia’s network of abortion providers.
It would also allow more health insurance plans, including state employee health plans and Medicaid plans, to cover abortion services.
Dozens of abortion-rights supporters packed the Capitol Tuesday for the legislation’s unveiling.
The bill was created in conjunction with the Amplify Georgia coalition of abortion-rights organizations and medical providers.
The coalition includes several plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging H.B. 481 on constitutional grounds.
“Seventy percent of Georgia wants abortion access. We are here to demand that this is what we want as a vision for the future of abortion care in this state,” said Sandy Springs Democratic State Rep. Shea Roberts, who co-sponsored the legislation.
Roberts spoke publicly last year about her own experience deciding to end a pregnancy more than a decade ago. She said her doctors recommended termination because of serious pregnancy complications.
Under Georgia’s abortion restrictions, she said patients in similar situations today could face risky delays in treatment.
“Now, under our current abortion ban, doctors are consulting with their attorneys before advising their patients,” she said. “They’re being forced to gauge when a pregnant patient is just close enough to death before administering lifesaving care or be faced with potential prosecution. This is dangerous and it has to stop now. Abortion care is health care and it should be treated as such.”
Opponents of abortion rights in Georgia say the state’s law prohibiting abortions after around 6-weeks of pregnancy also allows for exceptions for miscarriage and other pregnancy complications, and does not harm pregnant women or interfere with patient care.
An appeal in the lawsuit over H.B. 481 is set to be heard in March at the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Atlanta Democratic State Sen. Sally Harrell cosponsored the bill on the Senate side.