Kemp Remaining Silent, Not Ruling Out Calls for Criminalizing Abortion

May 11, 2022

In case you missed it, a Friday report from The New York Times noted how Brian Kemp continues to avoid answering questions on the future of abortion rights in Georgia. After his Trump-endorsed primary opponent, David Perdue, called on Kemp to hold a special session of the Georgia legislature to enact a total abortion ban, Kemp has remained silent and refuses to answer questions or rule out dangerous actions to criminalize abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

As The New York Times notes“Mr. Kemp’s office did not directly answer questions about his position on an abortion ban or plans to call a special session. His campaign did not answer the questions and referred to Mr. Kemp’s earlier comments.”

Kemp hasn’t ruled out his fellow Georgia GOP candidates’ calls for an abortion ban without exceptions — or pushes from GOP candidates and elected officials across the country to further criminalize family planning and reproductive health care by banning birth control, imposing cruel restrictions to punish women with jail time for seeking abortions, and threatening to arrest doctors who perform them.

In 2019, Kemp bragged about signing “the toughest abortion bill in the country,” which banned abortion before most people even know they are pregnant, and his support for the Texas abortion ban suggests he could push through an even more damgerous ban in Georgia if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The New York Times: In the Georgia governor’s race, Perdue tries to push Kemp on abortion

  • The leaked draft opinion signaling that the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade has raised the stakes for Georgia’s Republican primary for governor, with former Senator David Perdue trying to push Gov. Brian Kemp further to the right on abortion, an issue that animates the state’s conservative base.
  • Mr. Perdue on Thursday pressured Mr. Kemp to promise to call a special session of the legislature to ban abortion outright if the court eliminates federal protections for abortion rights and leaves it to states to set their own laws.
  • Georgia already has a law on the books, signed by Mr. Kemp and poised to take effect if Roe is overturned, that prohibits abortions after about six weeks from conception. 
  • But Mr. Kemp has not said whether he wants to go further.
  • “Georgia voters deserve to know where their governor stands on this issue,” Mr. Perdue said in a statement on Thursday. “You are either going to fight for the sanctity of life or you’re not.”
  • After years of catering to their conservative base on the issue — making promises they knew they could not fulfill under federal law — Republicans may soon be expected to deliver laws that would shrink the period of a pregnancy in which abortions are available, eliminate exceptions for rape and incest or ban the procedure outright. But in most states, those laws are not broadly popular and risk blowback.
  • In an interview outside of the Cobb County Republican Party headquarters on Wednesday evening, Mr. Perdue said he thought Georgia’s abortion laws as they stood now were “pretty good” but reiterated his support for a complete abortion ban.
  • In a statement released Tuesday, Mr. Kemp expressed support for the court’s potential decision, calling it a “historic milestone.”
  • Mr. Kemp’s office did not directly answer questions about his position on an abortion ban or plans to call a special session. His campaign did not answer the questions and referred to Mr. Kemp’s earlier comments.
  • Under Georgia’s current laws, abortion is legal through about 20 weeks of pregnancy. In 2019, Mr. Kemp signed a bill that would outlaw the procedure if a doctor could detect cardiac activity in a fetus, usually after six weeks.
  • Another bill brought forth by Mr. Kemp’s allies in the State House that would have banned mailed abortion pills was narrowly defeated on the final day of the legislative session in March.

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