In recent years, the debate over access to abortion in Georgia has been a heated and highly politicized issue. With changes to state law and policy, many are asking the question: can you get an abortion in Georgia in 2020? The answer may surprise you, as access to abortion services in Georgia has become increasingly difficult in recent years. In this article, we will explore the current state of abortion access in Georgia and what it means for those seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
Georgia Laws and Policies on Abortion
Georgia has several laws and policies that affect access to abortion services. In 2019, the state passed a highly controversial abortion law that effectively banned the procedure after six weeks of gestation, before many women even know they are pregnant. This law, known as the “heartbeat bill,” also criminalizes doctors who perform abortions after six weeks and allows for the prosecution of women who seek abortions out of state. However, legal challenges have prevented the law from going into effect.
In addition to the heartbeat bill, Georgia has several other restrictions on abortion access. The state requires mandatory waiting periods, counseling, and ultrasounds for those seeking abortions, and also prohibits certain medical procedures used during abortion procedures. Furthermore, Georgia prohibits the use of Medicaid funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment, making the procedure unaffordable for many low-income women.
Geographical Barriers to Access
Even in areas where abortion is legally available, many women face geographical barriers to access. In Georgia, there are only a handful of abortion providers, making it difficult for women in rural areas to access services. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 92% of Georgia counties do not have an abortion provider, and residents of some rural areas must travel up to four hours to reach the nearest provider.
Limited Availability of Services
The limited availability of abortion services in Georgia has led to longer wait times and increased costs for those seeking the procedure. In addition, many providers face protests and threats from anti-abortion activists, making it difficult to provide services in a safe and supportive environment. Some women may also face stigma and discrimination from their communities and families for seeking abortion services.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Abortion Access
The COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated access to abortion services in Georgia and across the country. Many states, including Georgia, have imposed restrictions on elective medical procedures in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. While some states have classified abortion as an essential service, Georgia has not, meaning that some providers have had to close or limit services.
In addition, the pandemic has led to significant economic hardships for many women, making it more difficult to afford medical care, including abortion services. This has exacerbated existing inequalities in access to healthcare and created additional barriers to abortion services for low-income women and women of color.
New Abortion Restrictions
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia has also implemented new restrictions on abortion providers. In April 2020, the state passed a law that temporarily banned abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, claiming that the ban was necessary to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Legal challenges to the ban are ongoing.
The Future of Abortion Access in Georgia
The future of abortion access in Georgia is uncertain, as legal challenges continue and new restrictions are introduced. Despite these challenges, advocates for reproductive rights in Georgia remain committed to ensuring that women have access to safe and legal abortion services.
Efforts to increase access to abortion include expanding Medicaid funding for the procedure, increasing the number of abortion providers, and establishing telemedicine options for women in rural areas. Advocates are also working to promote education and awareness about reproductive health and rights, and to combat stigma and discrimination against women who seek abortion services.
Challenges and Opportunities
However, these efforts face significant challenges from anti-abortion activists and lawmakers who seek to restrict women’s access to abortion. In addition, even with expanded access to abortion services, many women will still face barriers to access, including financial constraints, geographic distance, and social stigma.
Access to abortion services in Georgia remains a complex and highly contested issue, with significant legal, political, and social implications. While advocates continue to work towards greater access and equality, the future of abortion rights in Georgia remains uncertain.
- Guttmacher Institute. “Abortion in Georgia.” Accessed September 1, 2020. https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/state-facts-about-abortion-georgia
- National Women’s Law Center. “The State of Abortion in Georgia.” Accessed September 1, 2020. https://nwlc.org/resources/the-state-of-abortion-in-georgia/
- Planned Parenthood. “Abortion in Georgia.” Accessed September 1, 2020. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-southeast-advocate/abortion-in-georgia
Common Questions About Abortion Access in Georgia
Q: Is abortion legal in Georgia?
A: Yes, abortion is legal in Georgia, although there are many restrictions on access, including waiting periods, mandatory counseling, and limited Medicaid funding.
Q: Can I get an abortion in Georgia after six weeks of gestation?
A: The six-week abortion ban has not gone into effect due to legal challenges, but even without the ban, access to abortion services in Georgia can be difficult for many women.
Q: Are there any clinics that provide abortion services in Georgia?
A: Yes, there are several abortion providers in Georgia, although many parts of the state do not have access to these services.
Q: Is it safe to get an abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Abortion is considered a safe and essential medical service, although some providers may have limited services due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Q: What can I do if I cannot afford an abortion in Georgia?
A: There are several organizations that provide financial assistance for abortion services, including the National Abortion Federation and the Georgia Reproductive Justice Action Network.