Earlier this summer, after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Georgia’s new abortion law went into effect which banned abortions after 6 weeks, typically the time cardiac activity is detected. The law does include exceptions for rape and incest as long as the pregnancy has not passed its 20-week mark and a police report has been filed. The law also allows doctors to determine if an abortion is necessary for a medical reason or the infant’s life is futile.
The Columbus Police Department has said that they would investigate potential violations of the law. In fact, Sgt. Aaron Evrard said “the Columbus Police Department will investigate violations of Georgia Law that we are aware of,” he said in an email. He also added that “criminal charges may be made when and if evidence exists to support those charges as outlined by Georgia law.”
Previously, the Columbus District Attorney Stacey Jackson said that he would deal with these violations on a case-by-case basis, still allowing potential prosecutions. The decision to prosecute would come down to arrests and investigations by the Columbus Police.
More shockingly, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office said that all potential violations and cases would be referred to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation which would open the door for Governor Brian Kemp to direct the investigation and potentially prosecute women and doctors.
Kemp, however, has been relatively quiet on how the state intends to enforce the law, including both in cases of emergency care and potential criminal charges for attending nurses and physicians. And his staff is similarly mum on the matter ahead of the election, saying in regards to abortion law, “we don’t want this debate.”
The law is unclear about what will happen to a person who has a miscarriage, whether law enforcement is empowered to investigate abortion-led rape and incest cases, and who makes the report on cases of rape or incest? These questions leave room for potentially dangerous consequences, harming women and doctors across the state.
As partially reported on by Nick Wooten of the Ledger Enquirer.