All you need to know about abortion in Georgia

Medical abortions are a much newer method, with the first abortion pill being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2000. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about half of abortions at 8 weeks gestation or less are medical abortions.

Medical abortion involves two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone is sold under the brand name Mifeprex and is also known as RU-486. It blocks progesterone, a hormone essential for a pregnancy to develop, thus halting its progression. Misoprostol is then taken 24 to 48 hours later to empty the uterus through methods similar to early miscarriage.

When in pregnancy is an abortion allowed?

Georgian law allows abortions within 20 weeks of pregnancy, or about 22 weeks since the patient’s last menstrual period. This means that abortions are legal throughout the first trimester (12 weeks) and part of the second trimester, which ends at 26 weeks.

Medical abortions can be performed within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, while surgical abortions are the primary method for more advanced pregnancies.

An anti-abortion law passed through the Georgia Legislature in 2019 bans most abortions as soon as a doctor can detect fetal heart activity — typically six weeks into a pregnancy — but a federal judge struck it down on the grounds that it violated Roe v Wade.

How many abortions take place?

State records show that 31,248 abortions were performed in 2020, a rate of 9.3 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 10 and 55.

Who can prescribe abortion pills?

Medical abortions must be prescribed by a doctor. Georgian law prohibits medical assistants, nurses or pharmacists from prescribing abortion pills. Medical abortions can be prescribed via telemedicine.

Pharmacists are allowed to refuse to fill or refill abortion pill prescriptions based on their moral beliefs. Prescriptions for abortion pills can be filled by mail, and a bill that would have banned the practice in Georgia never came to a final vote earlier this year.

Are abortion pills and the morning after pill the same thing?

No, they are not the same. Abortion pills terminate an existing pregnancy, while the so-called “morning after pills” – there are various brand names – prevent pregnancy. The morning-after pill is available without a prescription in most retail pharmacies in Georgia for people aged 17 and over.

Where are abortions possible in Georgia?

According to the abortion rights organization NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, there are 28 facilities in Georgia that offer abortions, 17 of which are specialty clinics.

According to a recent report by Jezebel, Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health and abortion services in the United States, has stopped planning abortions in Georgia due to staffing issues. Planned Parenthood operates at least three clinics in Georgia.

What is needed during an abortion consultation?

Georgian law provides for a mandatory consultation session by a doctor, at which certain information must be presented to the patient. The patient must then wait 24 hours before proceeding with an abortion procedure, either surgical or medical.

If the patient is a minor, their parents or legal guardians must be informed 24 hours in advance before an abortion is performed. Minors in Georgia can apply for a court order to waive this requirement, a process known as court evasion.

Are abortions covered by insurance?

Private health insurance can cover abortions. Georgian law prohibits abortion insurance in all healthcare plans made available through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace. Health insurance packages for government employees also cannot include abortion insurance. The only exception is when abortion would save a woman’s life or avert significant and irreversible impairment of an important bodily function.

Federal law also prohibits Medicaid recipients and those with military health insurance from obtaining abortion insurance.

How much does an abortion cost?

The price varies depending on the clinic and the patient’s health insurance company. The Feminist Women’s Health Center, an abortion clinic in Atlanta, offers price estimates online. It estimates that a medical abortion would cost between $518 and $575, while surgical abortions would cost between $518 and $1,850, depending on how far along the pregnancy is.