Georgia district attorneys refuse to enforce new abortion law

A number of district attorneys in counties around Atlanta said they will not prosecute women for getting an abortion under Georgia’s recently passed restrictive “heartbeat” abortion law​, according to a report on Monday.

The Georgia bill, signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on May 7, would prohibit abortions after doctors detect a fetal heartbeat, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy.

Critics argue that is often before many women become aware they are pregnant.

​”​As District Attorney with charging discretion, I will not prosecute individuals pursuant to ​[the law] given its ambiguity and constitutional concerns,” DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said in a statement​, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“As a woman and mother, I am concerned about the passage and attempted passage of laws such as this one in Georgia, Alabama, and other states,​”​ it continued.

Georgia’s law is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, but it is expected to be challenged in the Supreme Court because it is at odds with the 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion.

The newspaper reported that technical language in the bill could allow district attorneys to seek a murder charge against a person violating the heartbeat bill.

The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Ed Setzler, said that wasn’t the bill’s intention, but women, doctors, nurses and pharmacists can face prosecution under the state’s criminal abortion statute.

It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

​”As a matter of law (as opposed to politics) this office will not be prosecuting any women under the new law as long as I’m district attorney,” Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said in a statement.

A spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said the office has “no intention of every prosecuting a woman under this new law.”

In Cobb County, acting District Attorney John Melvin said a woman would “absolutely not” be prosecuted.

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