After her fervent dissent against Georgia's anti-choice bill went viral over the weekend, state Sen. Jen Jordan made clear on Monday her primary objection to the so-called LIFE Act is that, contrary to its name, "women are going to die because of this bill."
The Democrat appeared on CNN's "Good Day" to discuss the bill two days after her Senate floor speech gained millions of views online. The bill passed on Friday and is expected to be signed by Gov. Brian Kemp.
"This bill is going to affect every aspect of every woman's life in the state of Georgia," Jordan said. "Let me be clear, women are going to die because of this law because they cannot get appropriate healthcare from OB/GYNs in this state."
“Let me be clear: Women are going to die because of this law because they cannot get appropriate health care from OBGYNs in this state,” says Dem. Georgia state @senatorjen, appearing with her GOP counterpart to discuss Georgia’s strict anti-abortion bill. https://t.co/YaApuiOeaG pic.twitter.com/x8vsIRr5wY
— New Day (@NewDay) April 1, 2019
House Bill 481, which is officially called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, narrowly passed in the state House with a 92-78 vote, days after Jordan gave a personal and passionate speech warning that the bill was unconstitutional and would gravely endanger women's lives across the state.
The bill would ban abortion in the state after a fetal "heartbeat" can be detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.
H.B. 481 would allow exceptions for women who have been raped or are the victims of incest, but only if they have filed a police report—a stipulation Jordan denounced as "cruel" and "horrifying" last week as she called on her colleagues to reject the bill.
"Each of you sits here in judgment of a situation that you could never comprehend, and dictate what a woman can and cannot do with her body, with her life," Jordan said.
The portion of Jordan's speech which sparked conversation over the weekend involved her personal experience with miscarriages, which critics say H.B. 481 could now leave women vulnerable to prosecution.
"I have been pregnant 10 times. I have seen what many of you in here have called a heartbeat 10 times," Jordan told the legislature. "But I have only given birth twice. I have lost seven pregnancies in varying points of time before 20 weeks."
"We've never seen a law like this. At the end of the day, the lives of women, that's what's at issue here." —Georgia State Senator Jen Jordan"My experience wasn't about abortion," she added. "But it is what's at stake here."
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Jordan warned that under H.B. 481, women who suffer miscarriages could be prosecuted for "virtually any perceived self-destructive behavior during pregnancy which could cause miscarriage."
"We've had the courts look at this issue before and say, 'This is a pandora's box you do not want to open.'" Jordan said on CNN. "What if she was drinking and had no idea that she was pregnant. What if she were smoking, what if she were doing some risky behaviors which caused a loss, what if she doesn't get appropriate prenatal treatment and somehow that is grounds for criminal prosecution?"
The state senator noted that in a state where 50 percent of counties have no OB-GYNs, lawmakers should not be leaving women vulnerable to such a possibility.
"We've never seen a law like this," Jordan said Monday. "At the end of the day, the lives of women, that's what's at issue here."
Women in the House spoke to the dearth of OB/GYNs in rural counties, preventing knowledge of early pregnancy, abortion services or getting adequate pre-natal care. Reminder Georgia leads the nation in maternal mortality and yet no bill has moved to address that. #HB481
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) March 29, 2019
In her speech last week, Jordan also chastised her male colleagues several times for presuming to dictate what healthcare procedures women are and are not entitled to, despite never having experienced their medical needs.
"We keep talking about six weeks pregnant. You know what that means? That means that maybe the woman is about one to two weeks late after an expected menstrual period," Jordan said. "And, yes, I am talking about stuff I don't want to talk about in this chamber, but let me tell you something. If you're going to get into the most private areas where women are, then you're going to have to listen to it."
On social media, many women's rights advocates praised Jordan's defense of women across Georgia over the weekend and on Monday.
“No doubt the women of this state will reclaim their rights -- after they have claimed your seats.”
— Matt Blakely (@mattwblakely) March 30, 2019
Jen Jordan’s response to the men of the #Georgia state legislature who appear to believe that they are entitled to curtail the choices and reproductive rights of #Georgia women. https://t.co/U1pOcEuuzR
— Roxanne La Roc (@legalrocs) March 31, 2019
Jen Jordan is a BADASS. This was a dissent to mark all dissents.
— Asha Dahya (@Ashadahya) March 25, 2019