Sebastian's Point

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The Women’s Health & Safety Act (SB456)

Will Stop The Abortion Industry’s Dangerous Expansion in Georgia

Joshua Edmonds  |  24 February 2022

When Joe Biden took over the White House in 2020, we were convinced that his administration and the abortion industry would conspire about how they could use their limited grip on power to achieve their ultimate goal of “self-managed abortion on demand and without apology.”[1]

 

That’s why, back in 2020, Georgia Life Alliance began meeting with our national partners, Susan B. Anthony List and Americans United for Life, to discuss how we could head off any attempts to expand the abortion industry. We determined, from all the evidence available, that we could expect the Biden Administration and the abortion industry to try to use the pandemic as an excuse to allow abortionists to prescribe chemical abortion pills via telemedicine and then deliver these dangerous pills through the mail - without ever physically examining the woman.

 

We began drafting legislation immediately that would prevent this from happening in our state and met with leaders in the General Assembly as well as with Governor Kemp to coordinate our response. After months of meeting with attorneys, doctors, public health officials, and state agency leaders, we determined that Executive Action likely wouldn’t stand legal challenge and we needed to resolve the issue legislatively during the 2022 session.

 

In December of 2021, the Biden Administration and the abortion industry confirmed our worst fears by politicizing and urging the FDA to end the Obama/Trump-era safety rule that required in-person visits to get the abortion pill. With that rule change, abortion pills are being sent through the mail in Georgia in little pink gift boxes, putting women at risk of bleeding to death alone in their bathrooms without any access to life-saving medical care.

 

With unprecedented support from the State Senate, we are now working to put an end to this reckless practice in Georgia.

 

Georgia Life Alliance’s 2022 priority legislation, the Women’s Health & Safety Act (SB 456), was introduced in the Georgia Senate by a coalition of 31 Senators (the entire Republican caucus), led by Chairman Bruce Thompson, President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, Caucus Vice Chairman Larry Walker, and Majority Whip Steve Gooch.

 

The Women’s Health & Safety Act (SB 456), will block the Biden Administration from allowing abortion pills to be sent through the mail or administered via telemedicine and would require an in-person examination and ultrasound by the licensed physician who is prescribing the medication.

 

Our flagship legislation is designed to protect Georgia women from the abortion industry putting profits over patients. They claim to care about women’s rights, but they won’t tell you that recent research shows that the abortion pill is more dangerous than previously thought.

 

A recent, first-of-its-kind study performed an analysis of Medicaid claims data and found that the abortion pill is a major public health threat. The study analyzed 423,000 confirmed abortions and found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits following the abortion pill increased by more than 500% from 2002 through 2015. Over the same period, chemical abortions within the study population increased from 4.4% to 34.1% of total abortions.[2]

 

Another recent study reviewing reported adverse events over a 20-year period found that women can experience severe and life-threatening side-effects after taking the abortion pill, including heavy bleeding, intense pain, and even death. With these increased risks, a woman is 30% more likely to die from an ectopic pregnancy while undergoing an abortion than if she had an ectopic pregnancy but had not sought an abortion. [3]

 

Only a medical exam can confirm an ectopic pregnancy, RH status, or gestational age, but the Biden Administration has removed this vital requirement from the regulations. This is reckless and unacceptable.

 

As the abortion industry was eager to point out while we debated the Heartbeat Bill in 2019, Georgia has been suffering from a maternal mortality crisis – in which women in our communities have died at disproportionately high rates due to complications such as obstetric hemorrhaging.

 

What the abortion industry has been equally eager to hide, however, is that this research shows that obstetric hemorrhaging is a chief side-effect of the chemical abortion pill. This rule change from the FDA will only worsen the crisis and undermine the efforts of the Georgia Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the DPH to answer the crisis.

 

Many have asked whether we should wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the Mississippi Dobbs case and for the 11th Circuit to subsequently rule on our Heartbeat Bill in June prior to passing any new pro-life legislation? The answer to that question is “no.” SB456 is not an abortion ban; this piece of legislation is a direct response to an urgent and immediate public health crisis that must be addressed by the state Legislature.

 

Others have asked whether it is wise to discourage telemedicine or remote healthcare options during a global pandemic? But, there is a long list of medications we already requite in-person visits for – and an even longer list we don’t allow to be provided remotely or through the mail. Chemical abortion poses an exceptional threat to women, and removing over 20 years of common-sense safety precautions makes it abundantly clear that, in the eyes of the abortion industry, a women’s health takes a backseat to her wallet. Profits over patients, always.

 

We are proud to stand on the frontline as the leading pro-life group in Georgia and the only statewide organization working with national partners to build a culture of life.

 

It is more than reasonable to require a pregnant woman to receive an in-person exam from a licensed physician prior to an abortion to ensure that she is not at increased risk of complications as well as prohibit abortion pills from being provided via telemedicine or sent through the mail. Similar legislation has been passed in Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota – and with the leadership of Senator Bruce Thompson and partnership with Governor Brian Kemp and Speaker David Ralston, we anticipate Georgia will do likewise by the end of this legislative session.

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  1. https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2018/10/self-managed-medication-abortion-expanding-available-options-us-abortion-care

  2. Studnicki J, Harrison DJ, Longbons T, et al. A Longitudinal Cohort Study of Emergency Room Utilization Following Mifepristone Chemical and Surgical Abortions, 1999–2015. Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology. January 2021.

  3. Aultman, et al., Issues in Law & Medicine, Volume 36, Number 1, 2021

Joshua Edmonds

Senior Policy Advisor

Georgia Life Alliance