ATLANTA — An Atlanta city council member wants to establish a commission to expand reproductive healthcare in the city.
Amir Farokhi represents Atlanta’s District 2 which includes Downtown, Midtown, and East Atlanta.
Farokhi introduced a resolution at the Atlanta City Council meeting on Oct. 21 to establish the Reproductive Justice Commission.
“It’s meant to be a commission of community members ideally with expertise in public health and maternal health to make recommendations to the city on how we can best promote and protect reproductive healthcare in the city,” Farokhi said.
This commission is, in part, in response to Georgia's controversial “heartbeat law”, which would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.
Farokhi told 11Alive that the Reproductive Justice Commission would increase awareness around various types of reproductive health access, not just abortions.
He said the commission would ensure that zoning laws make it possible for reproductive healthcare clinics to be established where appropriate and to help improve transit routes to ensure access to reproductive health.
These are only a few examples of recommendations the commission would make.
Farokhi also told 11Alive that no public funds will be allocated to the commission.
Georgia House Rep. Ed Setzler, the law's sponsor, said that he applauds Farokhi for not directing taxpayer funds toward this commission, but he is still opposed to the commission's inception.
“I certainly hope this commission continues to reject the concept of any public funding for abortion or transporting people — low-income folks or city employees — to get abortions. It has been a long tradition in our nation to reject public funding for abortions. I hope that is the starting premise of this commission,” he said.
Councilmember Farokhi said the health of Atlanta's residents is the primary focus of this commission.
“Asking citizens and experts to study and make recommendations on how the city can ensure access to health care and build healthy families requires no money,” Farokhi said.
“It is, however, priceless as we work to ensure Atlanta looks out for the reproductive health, well-being, and rights of Georgia residents,” he adds.
RISE, a center that focuses on reproductive health located at Emory University, reports that women who are unable to receive abortion care and subsequently carry unintended pregnancies to term are at high risk of experiencing poor health outcomes.
These poor health outcomes include eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, and maternal mortality.
An article from U.S. News and World Report put Georgia as the worst state, with a 46.2 maternal death rate for every 100,000 births between 2011 and 2015.
The Reproductive Justice Commission would run for three years and make recommendations during or after that time period.