One, two, three—and now, four. Georgia has passed a bill banning abortions after a detectable fetal "heartbeat," making it the fourth US state to pass such a law this year, per Vox. "All life has value, all life matters and all life is worthy of protection," Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday in signing the bill more than a month after it passed the legislature, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. As in Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi, court challenges await. Critics say the bill equals a near-total abortion ban as fetal cardiac activity is detected just six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant. It "flies in the face of 50 years of US Supreme Court precedent," says Andrea Young of Georgia's ACLU. "We will see Governor Kemp in court."
Unless it's struck down, the law will go into effect in January with exceptions when the mother's life is at risk or for "the accidental or unintentional injury to or death of an unborn child." Unlike Ohio's law, a woman in Georgia can also obtain an abortion after the fetal heartbeat is detected in cases of rape or incest, though she'll need to provide a police report. Otherwise, mothers, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists could be subject to criminal prosecution for seeking, performing, or assisting in an abortion once a heartbeat is heard. The Journal Constitution notes that a father may be ordered to pay child support once the heartbeat is detected and that an embryo could be claimed as a dependent on taxes and counted toward the state's population. (These celebs have spoken out against the measure.)