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.