The city of Atlanta will meet on August 1st to further discuss their plan to donate $300,000 to the National Network of Abortion Funds in order to support organizations like Access Reproductive Care-Southeast that help women get the support and money they need for abortions, including out-of-state travel. ARC-Southeast is an Atlanta based nonprofit that provides “financial and practical support, including lifts to appointments as well as travel and accommodation” for people seeking abortions. It also has a hotline set up for residents seeking safe access to abortions. This comes after a collective of reproductive and voting rights groups including Access for Reproductive Care Southeast and the Amplify Georgia Collaborative created a petition back in May that called on the city to create the abortion fund.
These efforts are in response to the United States Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, which allowed the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act that Governor Brian Kemp signed into law back in 2019 to immediately go into effect. This was possible due to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issuing an immediate stay of the lower court’s injunction of the six-week ban. This six-week abortion ban criminalizes most abortions after six weeks into pregnancy, a time before someone would know they are pregnant, and the only exceptions would be for medical emergencies, “medically futile” pregnancies, as well as rape and incest only if a police report has been filed. It also adds language such as “fetal personhood,” which would change the definition of a “natural person” to include “an unborn child at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.”
Atlanta District 5 Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari introduced the resolution that would make the $300,000 donation from the general budget, on behalf of the city, to the National Network of Abortion Funds which will support ARC-Southeast. The council also passed a different resolution that designates abortion as the lowest possible priority when it comes to crimes for the Atlanta Police Department and bans city funds from investigating alleged abortion crimes, including crime task forces and databases.
Councilmember Bakhtiari, in the abortion fund resolution, states how studies have shown that limiting the access to abortions and abortion care will disproportionately affect low income, immigrant and individuals of color. That it has been proven to dramatically increase the risk of death, bodily injury, and infertility, especially within low-income communities; and limiting access to safe reproductive care has the potential to worsen intersectional health and social inequities, particularly among Black, and socioeconomically vulnerable women, trans and non-binary individuals.
The Atlanta city council members meeting on August 1st is intended to discuss whether they want to use the city’s general fund, which is funded by taxpayers, to set aside the potential $300,000 to help Atlanta women access abortion care.