ATLANTA — Georgia and Alabama have something new in common: Legislation that severely restricts abortion. The Alabama legislature passed its bill Tuesday, and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the abortion bill into law Wednesday evening.
Though the two bills are very different – Alabama's version is even more restrictive than the one Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed last week – they essentially accomplish much the same thing.
Here are three distinct differences:
- Alabama's law punishes doctors or any abortion provider – making it a felony to perform or attempt to perform an abortion.
- Georgia’s law is more subtly written. It outlines no specific criminal penalties. But it makes doctors liable for civil penalties, including monetary damages, in potential wrongful death lawsuits. And it does describe abortion as “homicide of an unborn child.”
- Georgia's law allows exceptions for the health of the mother, though it excludes her emotional health. It also allows exceptions for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest.
- Alabama’s law has fewer exceptions. It has no exception for rape or incest. Alabama also allows abortions if the health of the mother is at stake – and also excludes her emotional health.
- Georgia has a short window for legal abortion, making it illegal when a fetal heartbeat is present, which is around six weeks gestation.
- Alabama doesn’t mention a heartbeat and opens no legal window. Alabama makes abortion illegal at any stage of pregnancy.