Women Will Serve in Record-Setting Numbers for Georgia’s Next Legislative Session
By Guest Columnist MELITA EASTERS, executive director of Georgia WIN List, a grassroots political action committee dedicated to recruiting, training, supporting, electing, and re-electing Democratic women.
As the Georgia General Assembly convenes Monday, women will hold a historic 82 seats for the first time since the Supreme Court of the United States set aside a five-decade precedent for abortion established with the Roe v. Wade case.
While the abortion issue has not been at the forefront of predictions for legislative action during this session, recent news events may well hasten such deliberations. Further, Georgia’s new General Assembly is dramatically different from the one which passed our state’s current abortion ban with only one vote to spare in the House in 2019.
On Thursday afternoon, South Carolina’s Supreme Court issued a 3-2 ruling which declared the state’s abortion ban at about six weeks is unconstitutional based on privacy concerns. The South Carolina decision is the first final ruling by any state Supreme Court on the state constitutionality of abortion since SCOTUS overturned Roe and left the matter to state discretion.
The South Carolina ruling said an abortion ban at roughly six weeks violates a provision in South Carolina’s constitution which reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable invasions of privacy shall not be violated.” However, the South Carolina court majority said the right to abortion is not “absolute” and must be “balanced against the state’s interest in protecting unborn life,” leaving a door open for future South Carolina legislative battles which Republican leaders were quick to promise.
Also in recent days, national pharmacy chains, including one with a significant presence in Georgia, have announced plans for making the prescription drug protocol for early-stage “medication” abortion care more widely available. This two-drug prescription protocol is now used for more than half of abortions nationwide.