Abortions drop 50% after passage of ‘heartbeat law’ in this state

Data from the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) shows that abortions in the state have been reduced by nearly half since the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Following information received from the open records request, The AJC reports that from January to July of 2022, approximately 4,000 abortions were committed in the state each month. With the overturn of Roe v. Wade in late June, a state law protecting most preborn children from abortion upon detecting a heartbeat was allowed to take effect. With the implementation of that law, which restricts abortion to about the first six weeks, abortions dropped to an average of about 2,176 per month.

“Abortions are down by (about half) across the state,” said Cole Muzio, who runs Frontline Policy Action group. “That equates to 20,000 to 21,000 lives — about the size of the city of Acworth. This is exactly what we were hoping for.”

Notably, the data shows a jump in abortions in November during a brief stint when a judge placed a hold on the state’s heartbeat law. A week later, the state Supreme Court reversed the lower judge’s ruling, putting the law back into effect. As a result, there were 195 abortions committed at seven weeks or later in November, compared with 13 in September and 10 in December. The state’s records also show that the majority of abortions in the state are chemical abortions, which correlates with national data.

Claire Bartlett, executive director of Georgia Life Alliance, told The AJC she is “delighted” in the decrease in abortions, but there is still work to do. “We’d like to see the number at zero, but we have generations of people who have a different understanding of things,” she said. “Now we want to work on an education campaign to get it where we are changing hearts and minds. That’s a taller ask, honestly.”

The AJC also interviewed a woman who described going in for an abortion appointment but was turned away because she was too far along in her pregnancy. Though she planned to travel out of state for the abortion, her family convinced her to keep the child. She married the baby’s father and now has a two-month-old son. She is grateful that she didn’t choose abortion.

“It made me realize how selfish I was in that moment,” she said. “Then I was relieved I wasn’t going to have to have an abortion. … And I was happier with myself because I knew I wasn’t going to do something that was going to traumatize me and hurt the people I love.”

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