Picture: AFP/SETH HERALD
Picture: AFP/SETH HERALD

A basic human right, in this case the right to autonomy over your own body, was sucked into the swamp of stupidity that currently passes for government in the US after the state of Georgia passed a bill this month effectively outlawing abortion.

Those fond of linguistic wrestling will try to temper your outrage with the half-truth that the bill exempts women who seek abortions and will instead target the health-care professionals who perform them.

The only exceptions will be rape, incest, if carrying the baby to term endangers the mother’s life, or if the foetus is "unviable". So, just like being back in 1904 then.

The Georgia measure is one of several so-called "heartbeat bills" recently passed by Republican-controlled states that appear to have become emboldened now that two of US President Donald Trump’s appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, have taken seats on the Supreme Court bench.

The bills outlaw abortions once a heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. What they really mean is that women unfortunate enough to find themselves living in these backwaters of the US will never be able to get abortions because few doctors will want to go to jail for performing one.

The bills push civil liberties back to a time before January 22 1973 when the Supreme Court extended legal abortion to the entire nation with its ruling in Roe vs Wade.

It’s hardly surprising that the US, dominated as it now is by petulant, boorish, religious cranks, seeks to undo the work done by generations of people who understood that liberty is for everybody, not just you and me, Jack.

The bills look like nothing more than badly disguised attempts to reverse Roe vs Wade. Once that pesky ruling has been taken out behind the barn and shot, the religious Right can raise its voice in praise and get back to the things that matter: making guns, babies and money.