Following this summer’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the nearly 50 year right to abortion created by Roe v. Wade, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed national legislation that would ban abortion after 15 weeks. Arriving less than 60 days before midterm elections, Senator Graham’s proposed legislation emboldens state legislatures that have already issued their own restrictions on abortion access and places new limits in states where no such laws are currently being considered or implemented.
Organizers and advocates who are part of ProGeorgia, the state’s non-profit civic engagement table, are yet again disappointed, though not dismayed by this legislation. “Georgia is one of the states where access to abortion was significantly impacted following the Dobbs decision – first as we attempted to meet the needs of the Southeast region in places where abortion was immediately banned, and then adjusting to our own restrictions going into effect soon after,” said Kwajelyn J. Jackson, Executive Director, Feminist Women’s Health Center.
“We are most concerned about the people who always endure burdensome obstacles to accessing healthcare — Black people, Spanish-speaking communities, uninsured and low-income people …” Kwajelyn J. Jackson, Executive Director, Feminist Women’s Health Center
queer and trans people — who now face even steeper barriers to necessary, life-saving, time sensitive abortion care. Yet, we are steadfast in our advocacy efforts especially for those vulnerable communities and remain encouraged by the increased engagement of Georgia residents standing up for reproductive justice.”
If passed, this legislation will disproportionately impact those least able to bear the costs and consequences of unwanted pregnancies, and will have ripple effects among those seeking non-pregnancy related healthcare services at clinics where abortions are performed. “This is yet another rallying cry moment,” said Malika Redmond, CEO of Women Engaged. “It’s part of an ever present reminder that our voting rights are tied to our reproductive rights, and that the choices we make each election season – and the ways we choose to engage our elected leaders beyond elections – matter. Our voices, our bodies, and our autonomy are deeply intertwined with the ways we exercise our power as residents of this state and citizens of this nation.”
Even as members of ProGeorgia’s coalition organize individually to advance civic causes like reproductive justice within their respective communities of interest, the table stands together in affirming that reproductive rights are human rights. “We remain determined to help create a democracy that works for everyone,” said Tamieka Atkins, ProGeorgia’s Executive Director. “This issue is no different – we will continue to organize and mobilize during elections, legislative sessions, and everywhere in between to make sure our policies and politics reflect the real needs of people.”