2020 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)

Time: D H M S

UPDATE: Ohio & Georgia: 11-year old girls can now be sentenced to life (or death) for being raped.

UPDATE: It's been pointed out that the Supreme Court has ruled that minors can't receive the death penalty, so I guess that means "only" life in prison for them. If they're 18 or older, however...

On the other hand, several people have noted that an 11-year old pelvis isn't generally developed enough to even deliver a baby safely, along with other health risks, so it could very well be a death sentence regardless, so I'm leaving the headline as is.

Georgia's "pro-life" Republicans have passed a law that would subject a woman who self-terminates after six weeks to life imprisonment or capital punishment. https://t.co/vbBpfRzIgj @Slate pic.twitter.com/Djqn0LbLf6

— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 7, 2019

On Tuesday, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a “fetal heartbeat” bill that seeks to outlaw abortion after about six weeks. The measure, HB 481, is the most extreme abortion ban in the country—not just because it would impose severe limitations on women’s reproductive rights, but also because it would subject women who get illegal abortions to life imprisonment and the death penalty.

...But the most startling effect of HB 481 may be its criminalization of women who seek out unlawful abortions or terminate their own pregnancies. An earlier Georgia law imposing criminal penalties for illegal abortions does not apply to women who self-terminate; the new measure, by contrast, conspicuously lacks such a limitation. It can, and would, be used to prosecute...

...Once it takes effect, a woman who self-terminates will have, as a matter of law, killed a human—thereby committing murder. The penalty for that crime in Georgia is life imprisonment or capital punishment.

Yes, that's right: While it will presumably (but not definitely) be ruled unconstitutional in the near future, the fact remains that as of this moment, starting on January 1, 2020, any woman who has an abortion in Georgia after 6 weeks (when most women don't even know they're pregnant) will be considered to have committed murder, and is therefore subject to the potential for life in prison or the death penalty.

Oh, but the horror show doesn't stop there:

Under the new Georgia law, a woman who miscarries could be liable for second-degree murder. If prosecutors can prove that she is somehow responsible, she can be imprisoned for 30 years. pic.twitter.com/JFMMT0ttbA

— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 7, 2019

HB 481 would also have consequences for women who get abortions from doctors or miscarry. A woman who seeks out an illegal abortion from a health care provider would be a party to murder, subject to life in prison. And a woman who miscarries because of her own conduct—say, using drugs while pregnant—would be liable for second-degree murder, punishable by 10 to 30 years’ imprisonment. Prosecutors may interrogate women who miscarry to determine whether they can be held responsible; if they find evidence of culpability, they may charge, detain, and try these women for the death of their fetuses.

Gee, I guess they'll have to drive down to Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina or Tennessee, right?

Guess again:

A woman who travels out of Georgia to obtain a legal abortion elsewhere could still be prosecuted under the new law, and imprisoned for up to ten years. pic.twitter.com/p090h7odDO

— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 7, 2019

Even women who seek lawful abortions out of state may not escape punishment. If a Georgia resident plans to travel elsewhere to obtain an abortion, she may be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment. An individual who helps a woman plan her trip to get an out-of-state abortion, or transports her to the clinic, may also be charged with conspiracy

But...but no prosecutor would dare actually enforce such a horrific law, right?

Guess again:

It is entirely possible that Georgia prosecutors armed with this new statute will bring charges against women who terminate their pregnancies illegally. In 2015, a Georgia prosecutor charged Kenlissia Jones with murder after she self-terminated; he only dropped the charges after concluding that “criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted.” Starting in 2020, however, Georgia law will permit precisely this kind of prosecution.

But...certainly there must be exceptions for rape, incest or the health or life of the mother, right?

Well...technically yes, but...

The Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act allows for some exceptions, including in cases of rape or incest if a woman files a police report, or when the life of the pregnant woman is threatened. A woman can also have an abortion if her pregnancy is deemed "medically futile."

"if a woman files a police report" is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

According to RAINN, only 31% of rapes are even reported in the first place.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, around 32,000 women (mostly underage girls, actually) become pregnant after being raped each year...and this study is from 1996. The U.S. population has grown by 21% since then, so that number is likely closer to 38,000/year today.

Georgia has around 3.2% of the total U.S. population. Assuming rape statistics in GA are around the national average, that means roughly 1,200 girls and/or women become pregnant from being raped each and every year there.

The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.

"Spontaneous abortion" is otherwise known as...miscarriage.

Again: Over half of pregnant women don't know they're pregnant until after six weeks. This means that at least 600 adolescent girls and women who were, again, impregnanted after being raped have to file a police report including being subjected to a grueling, physically and psychologically torturous examination process in order to receive the "privilege" of aborting their rapist's fetus, each and every year.

If she can't bring herself to do so (remember, in some cases the rapist is her own father, brother, cousin or uncle)...tough shit; she has to endure the full pregnancy and give birth to her rapist's baby, or else she can be prosecuted for murder and potentially be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty herself.

Speaking of which...remember a few weeks ago when Ohio passed and signed a similar law?

Yeah, about that:

A judge has set a $1 million bond for an Ohio man accused of raping a now-pregnant 11-year-old girl.

Police said Juan Leon-Gomez, 26, of Massillon, was arrested Wednesday after a mother reported that her daughter was missing.

...Ohio’s new “heartbeat bill” means that the 11-year-old girl will likely be forced to carry the child to birth, regardless of the fact that she was raped.

According to NPR, the “Human Rights Protection Act,” as the heartbeat bill was renamed, bans abortions as early as five or six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant. It adds criminal penalties for doctors who violate the law, and does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

As an aside, what the hell is this?

..In addition to rape charges, he is also facing charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child.

"Unruliness or delinquency". Of an 11-year old girl kidnapped, raped, impregnated, and forced to bear her rapist's child.

Excuse me, I need to go throw up.