Georgia Supreme Court Ruling Upholds Abortion Ban

The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a ruling sending the latest abortion law challenge back to lower court, leaving access unchanged. “The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a lower court ruling that the state’s restrictive abortion law was invalid, leaving limited access to abortions unchanged for now.” Justices heard arguments back in March on the so-called fetal Heartbeat Law.

A brief history of the legal argument challenging the Georgia abortion law discloses that “Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said last November that the ban was “unequivocally unconstitutional” because it was enacted in 2019, when Roe v. Wade allowed abortions well past six weeks.” Reporting analysis asserts that “Tuesday’s ruling does not change abortion access in Georgia.”

Reporting indicates that “Georgia’s law bans most abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” is present.” It is represented that “cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound in cells within an embryo that will eventually become the heart as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That means most abortions in Georgia are effectively banned at a point before many women know they are pregnant.” Exceptions to the ban exist, which include “rape and incest, as long as a police report is filed, and later abortions may be permitted when the mother’s life is at risk or a serious medical condition renders a fetus unviable.”

As reported, Georgia has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. It bans terminating a pregnancy once a doctor can detect cardiac activity, which is generally around six weeks. The lawsuit was filed shortly after the Heartbeat Law went into effect. The initial lawsuit was filed in the Fulton County court, but made its way up to the Georgia Supreme Court. The Heartbeat Law was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019, but did not go into effect right away because of lawsuits challenging its validity. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade this summer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit allowed the ban to go into effect.

Judge McBurney had previously ruled that the State law “was void from the start, and therefore, the measure did not become law when it was enacted and could not become law even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.” The state Supreme Court had previously allowed  enforcement of the ban to resume while it considered an appeal of the lower court decision.

The organization that brought the lawsuit challenging the abortion ban, SisterSong, says the fight is “NOT over.”

D & B Staff

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