(The Center Square) — The candidates running for Georgia’s attorney general office weighed in on whether a woman could be prosecuted under Georgia’s fetal heartbeat law.
In 2019, Georgia lawmakers passed House Bill 481, the Living Infants Fairness Equality Act, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected — usually after about six weeks.
During this week’s Atlanta Press Club debate, attorney general candidates weighed in on whether pregnant women can be prosecuted under the state’s fetal heartbeat.
“The role of the attorney general is not to interpret the law; the role of the attorney general is to uphold the laws of this state,” incumbent Republican Attorney General Chris Carr said. “…There is absolutely nothing in the statute that would say a pregnant woman … would be prosecuted. …There is no authorization to prosecute. If anyone, it’s the providers that are provided for in this law. It would be up to the district attorneys to make that determination.”
Libertarian Martin Cowan said he supported Roe v. Wade, a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling establishing abortion as a constitutional right. In June, the Supreme Court overturned the law, a ruling that allowed Georgia’s law to take effect.
“I would strongly resist — strongly resist — any prosecution of women or doctors for violation of Roe v. Wade, as it stood,” Cowan said. “How that would be done … remains something for legal research but I can promise you this, I would resist all prosecutions that were of people who behaved in accordance with Roe v. Wade.”
Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Sandy Springs, disagreed with Carr, saying the law opens pregnant women to potential prosecution.
“The law absolutely allows for the prosecution of women, the prosecution of doctors and other healthcare providers, nurses, pharmacists and the like,” Jordan said. “Specifically, what we’re talking about is the personhood part of the bill, which now says that effectively an embryo is a person under Georgia law, meaning for all intents and purposes, including even the protections of the law.
“… It’s ridiculous to say that this law does not let a prosecutor go after a woman because it’s clear that it does, and I think that with respect to the governor and the attorney general, what they’ve been trying to do is not talk about that, not acknowledge it,” Jordan added.
Bur Carr insisted Jordan’s interpretation of the law was incorrect.
“Georgia law says a woman can’t be prosecuted for homicide if she obtains an abortion,” Carr added. “The senator is wrong; she also knows that there’s nothing in this bill that talks about what she just said. …She’s simply trying to scare them for crass politics.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor