6 things you might not know about Georgia abortion laws

6 things you might not know about Georgia abortion laws

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Court citations taken from this Dougherty Co. Judicial Circuit release.

1. The mother will almost never be charged with a crime.

A third party (i.e. doctor or other person) can be criminally prosecuted for their actions in an illegal abortion, but a mother's own actions against her unborn child is largely not permitted.

2. Georgia's legislature has no exceptions carved out for this.

Applicable criminal law and statutes provide explicit immunity from prosecution of a pregnant woman for any unlawful termination of her pregnancy. See Hillman v. State, 232 Ga. App. 741, 503 S.E.2d 610 (Ga. Ct. App. 1998)

3. Getting an illegal abortion in Georgia isn't criminal.

("[T]he legislative history [of the criminal abortion statute, O.C.G.A. § 16-12-140] indicates that, despite numerous opportunities, the General Assembly has refused to criminalize a pregnant woman's acts in securing an illegal abortion."); O.C.G.A. § 16-5-80(f)(3)

4. Women are nearly always protected from prosecution in cases of feticide, regardless of the stage of pregnancy.

("Nothing in [the feticide statute] shall be construed to permit the prosecution of . . . [a]ny woman with respect to her unborn child."); O.C.G.A. § 16-5-80(a) (defining "unborn child" as "any member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.").

5. A manslaughter conviction is very unlikely.

An overwhelming majority of jurisdictions confronted with the prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own prenatal conduct that ultimately causes harm or death to the subsequently born child does not permit such prosecutions.

State v. Ashley, 678 So. 2d 339, 701 So. 2d 338, 342 (Fla. 1997) (stating that to allow the manslaughter prosecution of a mother for prenatal conduct "would require that this Court extend the 'born alive' doctrine in a manner that has been rejected by every other court to consider it").

6. Doing lots of drugs while pregnant to harm an unborn child won't be prosecuted.

State v. Gray, 62 Ohio St. 3d 514, 584 N.E.2d 710, 713 (Ohio 1992) (holding that a parent may not be prosecuted for child endangerment for prenatal substance abuse)

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