Fact-Check: Cher Falsely Claims Georgia Heartbeat Law Jailing Women for Miscarriages

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Singer Cher peforms on NBC's "Today" at NBC's TODAY Show on September 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Hollywood left-wing activist Cher took to Twitter Thursday to rant about an already debunked claim that Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion law will send women who have miscarriages to jail.

The actress-pop icon linked to a May 10 Business Insider article with the false headline, “Women deemed ‘responsible’ for having miscarriages could spend 30 years in prison under Georgia’s new abortion law.”

“Georgia’s abortion law imprisons women with miscarriages ACCORDING TO THIS LAW I WOULD HAVE SLENT [sic] 90 YRS IN JAIL……” Cher fumed.

She also raged, “I AM FURIOUS!! WOULD THEY PUT WOMEN IN JAIL WHO ARE ARE [sic] DESPERATELY TRYING TO HAVE CHILDREN, BUT ARE UNLUCKY!?”

“WOMEN KNOW THAT SADNESS & IT IS ALMOST UNBEARABLE,” Cher continued. “CANNOT IMAGINE GOING THROUGH THAT & ENDING UP IN JAIL BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T PROVE YOU WERE INNOCENT.”

Other left-wing Hollywood activists — such as Alyssa Milano — have also spouted the same false information about Georgia’s abortion law. Milano’s tweet warning women “you may be thrown into prison” came on the heels of her “sex strike,” in which she called for women to abstain from sex claiming, “Our reproductive rights are being erased.”

However, while Georgia’s new Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected — with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is endangered – it will not imprison women who have either abortions or miscarriages.

Instead, abortionists and attackers who would attempt to harm a woman’s unborn child are the focus of the new law — not the women themselves.

David French at National Review explained how the thinking of many pro-abortion rights individuals is “fundamentally wrong.”

“The heartbeat bill did not repeal a number of Georgia criminal statutes that explicitly apply to abortions and unborn children, and it does not overrule controlling legal authority holding that these statutes bar prosecution of a woman for terminating her own pregnancy,” French wrote, walking through some of the key statutes that apply to unlawful abortions:

If a person performs an abortion in violation of the heartbeat bill, then Code Section 16-12-140 applies. It does not impose life imprisonment on anybody, and Georgia courts have held that it does not apply to a woman who self-terminates, only to third parties who perform an abortion.

[T]he Georgia code section that criminalizes “feticide” (such as when a man attacks a woman for the purpose of killing her unborn baby) specifically states that “nothing in this Code section shall be construed to permit the prosecution of . . . any woman with respect to her unborn child.”

“Taken together, these statutes mean that a woman cannot be prosecuted either for aborting her own baby or committing feticide,” French concluded, adding that the Washington Post also fact-checked claims that the Georgia bill criminalized women who terminated their own pregnancies and found them to be “incorrect.”

“Georgia law is clear,” he wrote. “While abortionists can be prosecuted for performing unlawful abortions — and an attacker can spend the rest of his life in jail for killing a woman’s unborn child — Georgia’s heartbeat bill cannot be used to prosecute a woman for ending her own pregnancy.”

Similarly, Nicole Russell, columnist at the Federalist, also wrote about Milano’s spread of misinformation.

“She should educate herself on Georgia’s specific statutes before tweeting nonsense,” Russell wrote, once again stressing than punitive measures would be taken against abortionists who defy the law and those whose intention is to attack the mother’s unborn baby.

Though the abortion lobby and its political allies are fond of narratives that portray the pro-life movement as “misogynists” and engaged in a “war on women,” the pro-life community has never condemned women in unplanned pregnancies.

Russell explained the focus of the Georgia legislation “was securing the personhood and legal rights of the unborn, not punishing women who are pregnant and unsure of what to do.”

“Even though Milano attempts to portray conservative politicians in Georgia as lacking compassion and empathy for mothers, this is a baseless smear,” she added. “The ban doesn’t actually impose any kind of life imprisonment on anyone—the maximum is ten years—particularly not a mother who might try to induce a miscarriage or abortion.”

Similarly, Cher’s rant is baseless. Women who induce an abortion and those trying to conceive and suffering through miscarriages are still not going to jail for these actions in Georgia.

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