DEKALB COUNTY, GA (Tuesday, December 20)  -– At 2022’s final Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, December 20, DeKalb County’s Board approved a resolution that unwaveringly declares the county’s support for women and those who can bear children to have safe access to all reproductive healthcare needs, including abortion. The resolution was first introduced by Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry over the summer in response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade on June 24. The overturning of this landmark case made Georgia’s Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act enforceable, which bans abortions after about 6 weeks of pregnancy and limits access to other reproductive care services.   

“Fundamental rights have been taken away from hundreds of thousands of our residents,” Commissioner Terry, said. “In DeKalb County, we want to protect the right to choose and access vital reproductive healthcare services. This is not a decision that a politician should make. It’s a personal decision between the one carrying the child, family and their healthcare provider.”

In light of the overturn of Roe V. Wade and the now-enforceable LIFE Act, there is growing concern that those seeking or providing abortion services could be subject to investigation, arrest and prosecution. Commissioner Terry believes this to be a waste of law enforcement resources, especially as constituents and officers themselves want to see more emphasis put on stopping more violent offenses. 

“We know in DeKalb that violent crime is a top priority. We don’t need to be spending police resources investigating our own citizens, our own communities, our healthcare providers,” Commissioner Terry said. “This is not a priority for our law enforcement or to our community.”

In addition to supporting safe access to abortions, the resolution would also encourage the administration to add verbiage to the county employee benefits system that includes access to vital reproductive healthcare resources.

“I’m proud of the support this has received from my fellow Commissioners, and that DeKalb is willing to take a stand and protect our women and child-bearing individuals,” Terry said.

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Roe V. Wade Statement

For 50 years, rights to bodily autonomy were protected. For 50 years, though challenged countless times, the right to choose was safe. Today, the Supreme Court took us back 50 years with the overturning of Roe v Wade, the first step to advance toward a nationwide ban. No longer, per the Bench’s decision, should a woman or someone who can get pregnant have any say in their reproductive rights. In a nation where gun laws have been overturned, where Juul e-cigarettes have been labeled as a more dangerous threat than bullets, we are continuing to see the rights of our citizens stripped away, now targeting those who can get pregnant.

While we knew this decision was looming, it does not make the sting, disappointment and sadness of the overturn of this landmark case any less potent. It also does not make abortions go away, only less safe and further out of reach for the poor and marginalized communities. To those of you devastated by this news, please know that I am with you. I am with you, and I will fight for you to have a right to your bodily autonomy. Decisions over your body should not be left to the government, and the consequences of this loom large.

Now is not the time to give up, though. The court may have failed us, but there is still hope if we fight for each other. Fight by voting to expand the Senate Majority in November. Fight by supporting organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Fight by voting in our state’s gubernatorial election. We must rally together and take action to protect the rights of our fellow citizens now, and every day going forward. 

It is a dark and heartbreaking day in our country’s history. May we all come together and grieve, offer comfort to those directly affected by this decision, and keep our spark to fight alive.

–– Commissioner Ted Terry