2022 Georgia Code
Title 1 - General Provisions
Chapter 2 - Persons and Their Rights
§ 1-2-1. Classes of Persons Generally; “Natural Person” Defined; Corporations Deemed Artificial Persons; Nature of Corporations Generally

Universal Citation: GA Code § 1-2-1 (2022)
  1. There are two classes of persons: natural and artificial.
  2. “Natural person” means any human being including an unborn child.
  3. Corporations are artificial persons. They are creatures of the law and, except insofar as the law forbids it, they are subject to be changed, modified, or destroyed at the will of their creator.
  4. Unless otherwise provided by law, any natural person, including an unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat, shall be included in population based determinations.
  5. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. “Detectable human heartbeat” means embryonic or fetal cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the heart within the gestational sac.
    2. “Unborn child” means a member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.

History. Orig. Code 1863, § 1582; Code 1868, § 1645; Code 1873, § 1651; Code 1882, § 1651; Civil Code 1895, § 1802; Civil Code 1910, § 2159; Code 1933, § 79-101; Ga. L. 2019, p. 711, § 3/HB 481.

The 2019 amendment, effective January 1, 2020, added subsection (b); redesignated former subsection (b) as present subsection (c); and added subsections (d) and (e).

Cross references.

Definition of “person” generally, § 1-3-3 .

Editor’s notes.

Ga. L. 2019, p. 711, § 1/HB 481, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: “This Act shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act.’ ”

Ga. L. 2019, p. 711, § 2/HB 481, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: “(1) In the founding of the United States of America, the State of Georgia and the several states affirmed that: ‘We hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men;’

“(2) To protect the fundamental rights of all persons, and specifically to protect the fundamental rights of particular classes of persons who had not previously been recognized under law, the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, providing that, ‘nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws’;

“(3) Modern medical science, not available decades ago, demonstrates that unborn children are a class of living, distinct persons and more expansive state recognition of unborn children as persons did not exist when Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and Roe v. Wade (1973) established abortion related precedents;

“(4) The State of Georgia, applying reasoned judgment to the full body of modern medical science, recognizes the benefits of providing full legal recognition to an unborn child above the minimum requirements of federal law;

“(5) Article I, Section I, Paragraphs I and II of the Constitution of the State of Georgia affirm that ‘[n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due process of law’; and that ‘[p]rotection to person and property is the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws’; and

“(6) It shall be the policy of the State of Georgia to recognize unborn children as natural persons.”

Ga. L. 2019, p. 711, § 13/HB 481, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: “Any citizen of this state shall have standing and the right to intervene and defend in any action challenging the constitutionality of any portion of this Act.”

Ga. L. 2019, p. 711, § 14/HB 481, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: “All provisions of this Act shall be severable in accordance with Code Section 1-1-3.”

Law reviews.

For survey article on business associations, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 13 (1982).

For article, “Rights: Afterthoughts,” see 27 Ga. L. Rev. 473 (1993).

For survey article discussing developments in law of business associations for the period from June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2000, see 52 Mercer L. Rev. 95 (2000).

For article on the 2019 amendment of this Code section, see 36 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 155 (2019).

For comment, “Under Kemp’s Eye: Analyzing the Constitutionality of the Heartbeat Restriction in Georgia’s LIFE Act and its Potential Impact on Abortion Law,” see 71 Mercer L. Rev. 417 (2019).

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