'Horrifying': Kirsten Gillibrand denounces anti-abortion bills in Georgia

Nicquel Terry Ellis

ATLANTA – New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is standing behind Georgians who are rallying against the state's anti-abortion law. 

Gillibrand, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, appeared at the state Capitol on Thursday where she denounced the controversial abortion bans that have been enacted in Georgia and four other states this year. Lawmakers in at least 16 other states are also considering bans.

During her visit, Gillibrand led a round table discussion with experts, pro-choice activists and state lawmakers about how the anti-abortion laws would impact women

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks during a town hall in Des Moines Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

She vowed to champion abortion rights in her campaign for president, calling the bans "horrifying" and "discriminatory."

"Right now entirely too much of the conversation about women and what we can do with our own bodies is being driven by a group of right-wing male politicians," Gillibrand said. "It's time for that conversation to be led by the actual experts, women and their doctors."

Gillibrand, a staunch advocate for women's rights, is the first 2020 presidential candidate to appear publicly with pro-choice groups here since Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the anti-abortion bill last week.

The law will ban abortions after the 6th week of pregnancy or when a fetal heartbeat is detected. It goes into effect in January 2020. 

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Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said she was grateful to have Gillibrand supporting their fight for abortion rights. 

Fox said she hoped Gillibrand's appearance would inspire other candidates to continue advocating for the issue. 

"We would be kidding ourselves if we think abortion isn't going to be front and center on the ballot next fall," Fox said. "I'm so thankful for her to come to Georgia and not just (advocate) on social media."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Horrifying': Kirsten Gillibrand denounces anti-abortion bills in Georgia