The Georgia legislature passed a new abortion bill (HB 954). Yet another law (it’s only a matter of time before it’s signed) governing the practice of medicine based on nothing resembling science.
- Fetal pain. The law will make Georgia the seventh state to enact a gestational age limit based on the false belief that a “20 week” fetus can feel pain. The lack of cortical connections as well as the absence of connections between the thalamus and the subplate before 23 weeks means that a 20 week fetus does not have the neural ability to feel pain.
- No rape or mental health exception. Abortions are only allowed after 20 weeks for a congenital or chromosomal anomaly incompatible with life and to preserve the life/prevent irreversible physical impairment of the mother).
- Any abortions after 20 weeks must be done so the fetus has “the best opportunity…to survive” There are 2 ways to perform a 20+ week abortion: a dilation and evacuation (D&E), which is a surgical procedure where the cervix is dilated and the fetus is removed in parts, and an induction of labor, which can take several days in the hospital. What this law means is if a woman has an abortion for genetic reasons she must have her labor induced. The life of the mother clause does allow doctors to offer a D and E in specific situations. A fetus can’t survive before viability, so this “best opportunity” seems moot and just another way to make the experience more challenging and expensive, although if you read further it is clearly a set up for…
- “Any baby born alive that is capable of sustained life must get medical aid.” Meaning if you have an induction at 22 weeks for a severe congenital anomaly, a pro-life doctor or nurse can swoop in and resuscitate your baby against your wishes. Of course, nowhere does it say the government will pay for this medical care. This medical aid against the parents’ wishes could also be applied to situations where parents have made the difficult decision not to resuscitate their premature baby.
And finally the mistake? Well, I’m not going to disclose it until after it’s signed into law. I had to read the bill multiple times to make sure I was reading, well, what I was reading. This error makes it crystal clear that no one with any basic medical knowledge read the bill.
But hey, it’s only women’s health care we’re talking about.