Georgia Code Title 16. Crimes and Offenses § 16-12-141

(a) As used in this article, the term:

(1) “Abortion” means the act of using, prescribing, or administering any instrument, substance, device, or other means with the purpose to terminate a pregnancy with knowledge that termination will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of an unborn child;  provided, however, that any such act shall not be considered an abortion if the act is performed with the purpose of:

(A) Removing a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion;  or

(B) Removing an ectopic pregnancy.

(2) “Detectable human heartbeat” means embryonic or fetal cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the heart within the gestational sac.

(3) “Medical emergency” means a condition in which an abortion is necessary in order to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.  No such greater risk shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition of the pregnant woman or that the pregnant woman will purposefully engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

(4) “Medically futile” means that, in reasonable medical judgment, an unborn child has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth.

(5) “Spontaneous abortion” means the naturally occurring death of an unborn child, including a miscarriage or stillbirth.

(b) No abortion is authorized or shall be performed if an unborn child has been determined in accordance with Code Section 31-9B-2 to have a detectable human heartbeat except when:

(1) A physician determines, in reasonable medical judgment, that a medical emergency exists;  

(2) The probable gestational age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or less and the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest in which an official police report has been filed alleging the offense of rape or incest.  As used in this paragraph, the term “probable gestational age of the unborn child” has the meaning provided by Code Section 31-9B-1 ;  or

(3) A physician determines, in reasonable medical judgment, that the pregnancy is medically futile.

(c) In conducting an abortion, if the child is capable of sustained life, medical aid then available shall be rendered.

(d) No abortion is authorized or shall be performed in violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 31-9B-2 .

(e)(1) No abortion is authorized or shall be performed after the first trimester unless the abortion is performed in a licensed hospital, in a licensed ambulatory surgical center, or in a health facility licensed as an abortion facility by the Department of Community Health.

(2) An abortion shall only be performed by a physician licensed under Article 2 of Chapter 34 of Title 43.

(f) Health records shall be available to the district attorney of the judicial circuit in which the act of abortion occurs or the woman upon whom an abortion is performed resides.

(g) Any woman upon whom an abortion is performed in violation of this Code section may recover in a civil action from the person who engaged in such violation all damages available to her under Georgia law for any torts.

(h) It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution under this article if:

(1) A licensed physician provides medical treatment to a pregnant woman which results in the accidental or unintentional injury to or death of an unborn child;

(2) An advanced practice registered nurse or registered professional nurse, as such terms are defined in Code Section 43-26-3 , or a licensed practical nurse, as such term is defined in Code Section 43-26-32 , engages in the practice of nursing to provide care for a pregnant woman which results in the accidental or unintentional injury to or death of an unborn child;

(3) A licensed pharmacist engages in the practice of pharmacy, as such term is defined in Code Section 26-4-4 , to provide care for a pregnant woman which results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death of an unborn child;

(4) A licensed physician assistant, as such term is defined in Code Section 43-34-102 , provides care to a pregnant woman which results in the accidental or unintentional injury to or death of an unborn child;  or

(5) A woman sought an abortion because she reasonably believed that an abortion was the only way to prevent a medical emergency.


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