One of the most protective abortion laws in the nation has been signed by Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia. The outcome of this law is the legal protection of babies after six weeks gestation, the stage when doctors can normally detect a heartbeat. There are a few exceptions, which include preventing death or major harm to the woman and in situations of rape or incest, after a police report has been filed.
Like three other states that have enacted similar laws, it is expected Georgia’s law will come up against an immediate legal challenge. Supporters hope that this law will begin a re-evaluation of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade was the landmark 1973 decision that overrode state abortion laws and made abortion legal all nine months of pregnancy.
In a signing ceremony at the State Capitol, Kemp, a Republican, said that his administration is prepared for a court fight.
“Our job is to do what is right, not what is easy,” he said, as reported by The New York Times. “We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down.”
This Georgia legislation is just one of the latest developments in a wide-ranging battle over abortion that has taken place this year. State legislators headed by Republicans in the Midwest and the South have taken the lead. Conservative lawmakers have seen the recent changes in the Supreme Court as an opportunity to get overturn Roe v. Wade.
“This is a historic day for Georgia,” Catherine Davis, a pro-life rights activist said, as reported by The New York Times. “This is a day that many of us who have been in the pro-life fight for years and years and years didn’t really think it would be possible, in light of the politics of the issue,” Davis said at Kemp’s signing ceremony.
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Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed a controversial abortion bill on May 15 that may have the ability to penalize doctors who conduct abortions with life in prison.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Ivey, a Republican, said in a statement, as reported by CNN. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
The bill was approved 24-6 by the Alabama Senate on Tuesday, May 14. The law’s only allowances include “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the child in the womb has “a lethal anomaly,” as told by CNN. Democrats attempted an amendment to exclude cases such as rape and incest victims, but the motion was not successful, with an 11-21 vote.
Ivey mentioned in her statement that this law may be difficult to enforce because of the Supreme Court’s case, Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in every American state. The intention of this new law was to challenge Roe v. Wade, Ivey said.
“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable,” Ivey wrote. “As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”
Alabama is now at the forefront of passing measures to protect unborn babies. Georgia’s Gov. Kemp recently signed a pro-life protection bill, you can read about it here.
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On Tuesday, local psychiatrist Dr. Satya Chandragiri announced on Facebook Live that he will be running for the Salem-Keizer School Board, Zone 4.
As a father of two Salem-Keizer school graduates and a highly involved member of the community for over 15 years, Chandragiri says he is ready to step in and make a difference.
“I’m running for the school board because I’m not happy with the status quo,” said Satya in a statement. “I believe every child can grow and develop to their full human potential, become a contributing, responsible citizen and member of our community and tackle the problems of tomorrow that we cannot even see. Future generations can do better than what we have done. We need bold leadership to ensure our schools can make this dream happen for our kids and generations to come.”
Dr. Satya’s professional focus as a psychiatrist is mental illness, addiction and other serious challenges that afflict both adults and children. He hopes to bring a similar focus to his campaign, which is centered around child-first policies that address mental health, safety and welfare as well as teacher burnout.
Voters in the Salem-Keizer School District will be selecting three out of seven board members this May. Dr. Satya plans to file for office on the first day possible, February 11th. Zone 4 is currently represented by Jim Green who is retiring this year, according to the Salem Reporter.
Dr. Satya’s campaign website is https://satyafororegon.com.
Representative Rick Lewis, R-Silverton, has proposed legislation that will change the number of hearing aids Oregon Health Plan (OHP) grants. Patients who were granted only one hearing aid, every five years, will now have the hope and ability to hear in both ears.
Hearing aids have been inaccessible to low-income patients outside of their Medicare plan, sometimes costing them thousands of dollars. Those with hearing issues find themselves left only able to partially improve their hearing. Under the OHP plan, members were only granted one single hearing aid. Having only one hearing aid prevents the ability to hear from multiple directions.
“When people lose hearing in one ear, they typically lose it in both,” said Lewis. “If they have one hearing aid most sound comes from one direction.”
Because of Lewis’ prompting, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) began to review their budget and policies. The agency discovered that the federal government permits states to make administrative changes to the OHP hearing aid grants. OHP also found that providing a full set of hearing aids would be reasonably because of advances in hearing aid technology.
“The fact that it doesn’t cost additional money to make this happen is really important.”, Rep. Lewis stated.
The proposed legislation will help countless children in Oregon as well as adults. Oregonians who can’t hear may finally hear in both ears for the first time all thanks to Rep. Lewis.
Republican lawmakers in Michigan’s Senate passed legislation to prohibit doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs via online video chats with patients. The measure passed by a 12-vote margin, and extended an existing ban on abortion medications which would have expired in 2019.
Under the new law, women who desire abortion-inducing drugs must visit a physical clinic to obtain the medication. Pro-abortion lawmakers protested that Michigan women may lack access to such clinics, especially in rural areas of the state.
“Telemedicine works,” stated Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor). “The bill before us forces Michigan backwards, plain and simple. The motivation here is purely ideological, not medical, and quite frankly it’s unconstitutional.”
Genevieve Marnon, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan, expressed a different view. The FDA limits access to abortion-inducing drugs to reduce harmful side effects, she noted: for example, FDA regulators prohibit women from obtaining mifepristone (a common abortion medication) at retail pharmacies. Thus, for pro-life advocates, Michigan’s new law simply respects the spirit of FDA policy.
Since 19 other states have enacted telemedicine abortion bans, Marnon deems Michigan’s bill a “pre-emptive” move amid widespread support for restrictions on abortion drugs. Roughly 9,000 abortions were performed via medication in Michigan last year, Marnon noted.
The Michigan House will consider the measure later this month.
Oklahoma senator Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) is working to stop all abortions in the state by classifying abortion as a felony homicide, reports ABC affiliate WGNO.
“It’s gonna be classified as a homicide because, essentially, a fertilized egg is a human life just like a 1-year-old baby is a human life. So, an abortion would be considered intentionally taking a human life,” Silk explained.
Silk hopes his measure will override federal laws which permit abortions in Oklahoma. “The Attorney General shall direct state agencies to enforce [the abortion ban] regardless of any contrary or conflicting federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, or court decisions,” the bill reads.
Silk has no qualms about opposing the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion. “The Supreme Court also ruled . . . that slaves were private property and they were wrong. And so, the courts do need to be challenged,” Silk stated.
The ACLU’s Oklahoma chapter expressed outrage at Silk’s proposal. The measure attacks Oklahoma women’s reproductive rights, believes Allie Shinn, who serves as deputy director for the chapter. “I’m not sure where Joseph Silk got to decide that he’s the morality police, but nobody elected him to do that,” Shinn said.
Silk responded that his measure is justifiably comprehensive. It includes no exceptions for rape and incest victims, for instance, because so few cases of rape and incest occur in Oklahoma. “The numbers of rape and incest are so tiny, under half a percent. So, it’s almost not even an arguable question,” Silk explained.
Ultimately, Silk seeks to respect the personhood of all unborn children, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their birth. “It is a human life, regardless of how it came to be,” Silk said.