Project Title

Women's Sexual Health in Georgia: Teenage Pregnancy, Sex Education, and the New Fetal Heartbeat Law

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Darina Lepadatu

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into effect one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation known at the Fetal Heartbeat Law. It restricts abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with exclusions including endangering the mother’s life and reported rape or incest. This law if highly controversial and will drastically impact reproductive health, including pregnancy and maternal and infant deaths. Between the years of 1985 and 1992, the birth rate to teens in Georgia increased over 40%, causing Georgia to have one of the highest percentages of teen pregnancy in the county despite decreasing teen pregnancy rates within the U.S. overall. According to the CDC, Georgia also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. There were 43 deaths that were related to pregnancy in Georgia in 2014 and a large racial disparity among maternal deaths. During this controversial time, we researched women’s health opinions on a variety of topics with a strong focus on the new abortion law. The purpose of our project is to explore the most critical aspects of women’s health in Georgia, more specifically how teen pregnancies, women’s mortality rates, infant mortality rates and the new Heartbeat Law affect women’s health in Georgia. We surveyed 204 adult women living in Georgia about health issues such as sexual education in schools, preferred methods of contraception, attitudes towards teen pregnancy, and attitudes towards the new Fetal Heartbeat Law. As social scientists, we looked for statistically significant correlations between preferred methods of contraception and attitude towards the Fetal Heartbeat Law and different demographic information such as political affiliation, age, marital status, religion, and race. This research is necessary because it provides women’s opinions on legislation that was signed into effect by a man about significant women’s health issues.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Women's Sexual Health in Georgia: Teenage Pregnancy, Sex Education, and the New Fetal Heartbeat Law

Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into effect one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation known at the Fetal Heartbeat Law. It restricts abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with exclusions including endangering the mother’s life and reported rape or incest. This law if highly controversial and will drastically impact reproductive health, including pregnancy and maternal and infant deaths. Between the years of 1985 and 1992, the birth rate to teens in Georgia increased over 40%, causing Georgia to have one of the highest percentages of teen pregnancy in the county despite decreasing teen pregnancy rates within the U.S. overall. According to the CDC, Georgia also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. There were 43 deaths that were related to pregnancy in Georgia in 2014 and a large racial disparity among maternal deaths. During this controversial time, we researched women’s health opinions on a variety of topics with a strong focus on the new abortion law. The purpose of our project is to explore the most critical aspects of women’s health in Georgia, more specifically how teen pregnancies, women’s mortality rates, infant mortality rates and the new Heartbeat Law affect women’s health in Georgia. We surveyed 204 adult women living in Georgia about health issues such as sexual education in schools, preferred methods of contraception, attitudes towards teen pregnancy, and attitudes towards the new Fetal Heartbeat Law. As social scientists, we looked for statistically significant correlations between preferred methods of contraception and attitude towards the Fetal Heartbeat Law and different demographic information such as political affiliation, age, marital status, religion, and race. This research is necessary because it provides women’s opinions on legislation that was signed into effect by a man about significant women’s health issues.