During May 2019, Georgia lawmakers passed the controversial Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act. Commonly known as the “heartbeat” bill, the law prohibits pregnant women from getting an abortion once fetal cardiac activity is detected. This occurs roughly six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women realize they are pregnant. The law was originally set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, but U.S. District Court Judge Steve J. Jones blocked the legislation on Oct. 1.
Following the new development, The Red & Black decided to ask University of Georgia students what they thought of the “heartbeat” bill.
Uzochi Agbanelo is a junior international affairs major.
“It was weird to have people debating something that personal … I thought it was very unrepresentative of the society to just debate on a woman’s body. And on something that is so personal to a person, just debating it in the open without actually asking questions like taking polls or asking girls what they think about this. For example, get the word on the situation of why girls get pregnant before they’re ready to have a baby … I felt bad because it was like they were trying to take off the topsoil without actually digging in to find out what the problem is.”
Jonathan Schulz is a sophomore cell biology major.
“I’m a Christian, so I’m a follower of God. So when it comes to issues of abortion, I understand that they’re very heated and I try to be really sensitive, myself. Because I’m a Christian, I believe everyone has a soul created by God that’s precious … When it comes to things like abortion, I personally am very aggrieved with abortions because I believe that someone’s soul that never had an opportunity to do what they were created to do on this earth. So I guess for me, personally, I’m generally against abortions, but I also understand there are so many traumatic experiences for these women who sometimes have to get abortions because that’s their only option … I openly admit I don’t know a lot of things … So when it comes to something like that, I’m just trying to learn.”
Amber Smith is a senior journalism major.
“I have mixed feelings about [the bill]. Although I feel that a life should belong to an individual person, I feel that a woman should have control over what happens to her body and that legislation should not interfere with that decision because it should be a personal choice and not something dictated by legislation.”
Jamie Ropelewski is a fifth-year genetics major.
“I think that [Georgia lawmakers] were overstepping the boundaries and the abilities that they had to decide for a woman … They had completely stepped over that line. That’s not their business, so I’m glad that it was held up because it was borderline unconstitutional … And then in the fact that they were messing with insurance and birth control and things like that. That’s not acceptable. They were trying to make it illegal, but they’re not making it illegal. They’re just making it more dangerous for women because it’s still going to happen no matter what.”
Gabrion Johnson is a senior financial planning major.
“I don’t really support government regulating what women do with their bodies to that extent. To me, that’s too aggressive. And it’s pretty asinine that [Georgia lawmakers] feel as though they have the right to do that. Also, when the people voting on it isn’t really a representation of women … Because most of them are older white men who are voting on it.”