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Georgia's Governor Signs 'Fetal Heartbeat' Abortion Law


Gov.Brian Kemp, pictured last month, signed the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act on Tuesday.

Gov.Brian Kemp, pictured last month, signed the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act on Tuesday.

Stephen B. Morton, AP

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the controversial “Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act” on Tuesday, legalizing a state ban on all abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detectable, which typically occurs about six weeks into a pregnancy.

Lawmakers approved the bill in March and the law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. It significantly decreases the period of time for a woman to have an abortion in the state, currently set at 20 weeks.

The final approval by Kemp is a fulfillment of campaign promises he made to supporters last year. It is also part of a larger national movement in which several conservative state legislatures are crafting bills to limit the procedure to the earliest stages of pregnancy.

Their hope is that the law triggers a legal battle over its constitutionality.

Abortion rights supporters object to the “fetal heartbeat” law, arguing that many women don’t realize they’re pregnant at the six-week mark.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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