Today we’ve got Georgia on our minds, where we’re talking about Georgia’s strict abortion ban, which went into effect immediately after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling on SisterSong v. Kemp, which bans abortions after six weeks in Georgia. Our hosts and guest discuss what the ACLU of Georgia is doing and what you can do to protect your own liberties in Georgia and across all 50 states.
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
Anti-choice forces have just been throwing every formulation at the court that they could trying to come up with something that would work.Andrea Young (10:47)
In this episode:
Our hosts discuss what they’re pissed about (01:18)
Gloria introduces our guest, Andrea Young (05:59)
Sherrye and Andrea discuss the text of Georgia’s ban and what it means (10:18)
Legal ambiguity about “health of the mother” (12:45)
Child support and tax status of the unborn (15:40)
ACLU of Georgia fights for reproductive rights and voting rights (19:14)
Polling vs. turnout in Georgia elections (22:20)
How small the margins of victory are in the Georgia legislature (25:50)
Getting out the vote in Georgia (27:45)
Our Hosts Open the Show with What They’re Pissed About
Gloria Feldt is pissed, along with Wyoming Congresswomen Liz Cheney, about the “50, 60, and 70-year-old men” who are using executive privilege to avoid testifying in the January 6th hearings, when young women within the Trump administration are acting as witnesses.
Sherrye Henry is pissed about Senator Manchin’s firebombing of President Biden’s climate change bill and his hypocrisy surrounding the filibuster.
Betty Spence is “beyond pissed” about the medical malpractice being forced on doctors by legislators in states where abortions are banned. This leads to situations like a Texas woman being forced to carry a dead fetus for two weeks as she got multiple ultrasounds to prove that she had actually had a miscarriage.
Carol Jenkins is pissed about the missing Secret Service text messages from January 5th and 6th.
Our guest, Andrea Young, is pissed about the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that enabled a six-week abortion ban to go into effect immediately in Georgia.
The ACLU of Georgia, the Georgia Abortion Ban, and the Ongoing Implications of Overturning Roe v. Wade
In their ruling on SisterSong v. Kemp, Andrea Young says the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was (07:25) “gratuitous in making [the ruling] immediate, so clinics were in process, physicians were seeing patients, and the court said this was to take place immediately. They vacated the injunction pending all the paperwork and other things that typically take place.”
Additionally, she is offended that the ruling used derogatory language to refer to the plaintiffs in this case, repeatedly calling members of SisterSong “abortionists.” The organization is focused on strengthening and amplifying the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice.
Legal Precedent, Definitions, and Hypocrisy in the Georgia Abortion Ban Ruling
Sherrye Henry quotes Andrea Young’s thoughts on the text: “When focusing on the text, as we must, it’s hard to see any vagueness. The act defines a natural person to include unborn humans in the womb at any stage of development.” This provides the implication that life begins at conception, and Georgia abortion laws are developed around that.
Andrea Young discusses how dangerous it can be to give birth in Georgia, a state which has some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country and where 80 counties in Georgia don’t even have an OBGYN. (11:42) “The idea that my daughter, who has a college and a master’s degree, is the equivalent of zygote, I find deeply offensive.” This ruling has exacerbated a very real concern around maternal mortality for millions of Georgians and US citizens, given that these abortion laws have increased difficulties for physicians to provide care to those who are experiencing miscarriages or other birth/pregnancy emergencies.
Although some exceptions can be made for the “health of the mother,” Betty Spence points out that this Georgia abortion ban and others like it focus on (13:03) “the usurpation of medical expertise” and create “chaos resulting from ludicrous attempts to legislate the health of the mother.”
Andrea Young advises all OBGYNs to have counsel, and asks all of our listeners to understand that there is now a law enforcement person looking over the shoulder of a physician making determinations about the health of the mother, and those decisions can be undermined by someone who is not a medical professional.
Georgia’s Abortion Ban Also Addresses Fetal Child Support Payments
This is a strawman solution that doesn’t actually protect expectant parents or fetuses in the womb. While it supposedly provides financial support during pregnancy, it’s likely that this will not actually help anyone in reality. Georgia is the eighth-largest economy in the country, and if the state government wanted to use state resources to help women and young children, they would have already been doing so. Andrea also discusses the links between abortion bans and increased rates of poverty in both parents, as well as the extreme cost of in-utero paternity tests.
Andrea Young says that the Georgia abortion ban and the language included in it is a (21:12) “symptom of a larger contempt for women and their aspirations.”
Abortion Bans and Ballot Boxes
Betty Spence brings up the relationship between voting, equal, and reproductive rights, and Andrea discusses the ACLU’s work on Georgia SB202, which is rolling back provisions around access to voting, particularly mail-in voting. The 2013 Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision paves the way for further legislation that will make it more difficult to vote.
Stacy Abrams and Gov. Brian Kemp are in a rematch, and turnout is going to be a huge push as the mid-term elections draw nearer. Andrea Young discusses how the election of Democratic Senators Ossoff and Warnock meant that the Biden administration granted money to Georgia, so the booming economy in Georgia today isn’t due to Governor Kemp. However, It’s critical that people get out and knock on doors to do education at their doors and mobilize the vote.
“In Georgia, we have to beat the ref.” (27:55)
Andrea discusses the saying that she and her teammates used to have when they played sports in desegregated school districts, knowing that when they played a white school, they would also have to beat the referee. She likens this to how Georgians must continue to turn out to vote and win by such a big margin that it cannot be denied and to make sure that all votes are counted.
In addition to electing a pro-choice governor and attorney generals, there are 59 pro-choice women running for state offices in Georgia that need to be supported. This is critical, since the six-week Georgia abortion ban only passed by one to three votes, so electing six to seven pro-choice candidates could protect against further degradation of our voting, equal, and reproductive rights. As Sherrye Henry says in this episode, (28:38) “You’re either at the table, or you’re on the menu.”
Andrea Young sums up her thoughts: (29:37) “Your access to reproductive health care should not depend on what state you live in. Your access to the ballot box should not depend on what state you live in…Our democracy is under threat from internal actors and domestic terrorists. And we have got to stand up and defend this democracy, or we’re going to lose it.”
What Can You Do?
- Volunteer as a poll worker
- Volunteer on the campaign of a local pro-choice candidate, such as these candidates who are endorsed by our partner NARAL and these candidates in Georgia who are endorsed by Georgia WIN List
- Volunteer to work with NARAL using our referral link
- Make sure everyone in your circle checks their voter registration online
- Educate people in your network that we have to make voting in the midterm elections (Nov. 8th) a priority
What Organizations Can You Support?
Now the Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia, Andrea Young is an accomplished and creative senior leader with extensive experience in non-profit management; policy advocacy; documentary film-making; academia and government. Young has devoted her career to promoting policies to defend and extend civil and human rights. She has been recognized nationally for her work as an advocate for civil and human rights.