ATLANTA — The Atlanta City Council said it will instruct the city's police department to treat any violations to Georgia's abortion law as the lowest priority after it unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday.
The announcement by Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari came on the same day that the United States Supreme Court moved to reverse nearly 50 years of precedent and overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized the right to abortions in the nation.
The high court's decision now allows states to decide how to handle abortions; many, like Georgia, have passed laws that will now take effect with Friday's ruling.
Gov. Brian Kemp's signed Georgia's restrictive "heartbeat" law back in 2019. The law bans all abortions after a cardiac activity in the womb, also called a fetal heartbeat, is detected -- which can sometimes happen as early as six weeks and sometimes before someone knows they're even pregnant. The law does provide exceptions for rape and incest.
Atlanta's resolution now stipulates that "no City funds shall be used to record and/or investigate reports of abortion care and the Atlanta Police Department is requested to place reports of abortion-related care at the lowest possible priority."
It further adds that "the investigation or support for the prosecution of any allegation, charge, or information relating to the outcome of a given pregnancy, including abortion and abortion-related care" would be the lowest priority for law enforcement and the use of resources and personnel.
It provides exceptions for when the pregnant person is the victim of a crime and the crime being investigated is not abortion or other reproductive health services.
The resolution also seeks to ban city funds from being used to "store or catalog" abortion reports, "provide information to any other governmental body or agency about any abortion" that could be used in a prosecution, and conduct surveillance to determine if an individual abortion has occurred or collect data on abortions except for "purposes unrelated to criminal investigation, enforcement or prosecution."
In addition, Bakhtiari said the council is exploring funding to help certain organizations that provide resources to those that sought to have safe abortions elsewhere. The councilmember also encouraged other cities to do the same.
Bakhtiari said she hopes to raise at least $300,000 for one particular group, though it's unclear at this time where those funds would come from.
Bakhtiari closed with strong words to those who might say she's overstepping her boundaries as a council person: "Survival is not a partisan issue."
"This is me doing my job," Bakhtiari said. "As public servants, we do everything we can to protect people's lives, and that's exactly what this is."