I fear that many Americans believe the decision Roe v. Wade, passed 50 years ago and recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, allowed abortions “on-demand.” The law contained reasonable restrictions on access to legal abortions up to 24 weeks, with medical exceptions. The anti-abortion bills recently passed in states all over the country, including in Georgia, put that serious health-care decision in the hands of elected state Senate and House members, the majority of whom are white men.
Georgia’s law is a six-week limitation. Most women would agree that six weeks is not long enough for a woman to even know she is pregnant—a concept most men can’t wrap their heads around. If a state legislator’s 13-year-old daughter is tragically raped and becomes pregnant, I’m confident that they would want the right to consider a legal abortion as an option.
Back in the 1980s, my husband and I were delighted to find I was pregnant for the second time. For weeks, pregnancy tests continued to indicate that I was pregnant. Finally, after 13-14 weeks, my doctor had to break the news to us that the fetus was dead. An abortion was a necessary yet heartbreaking health-care decision for me to make.
To me, the abortion debate goes to the core of human liberty and freedom promised every American. Every human should have the right to make personal health-care decisions for themselves. The current Georgia law is equivalent to making a vasectomy for men illegal after the age of 35. Not for one second would Georgia legislators consider making that health-care decision for men into a state law.
Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, each state needs to craft abortion legislation that considers a woman’s right to choose within reasonable guidelines. I could never vote for a Georgia state or federal candidate who supports banning abortions after six weeks without exceptions for rape, incest or the health and welfare of the mother.
Kidd is a former Athens state representative and former chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
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