Judge overturns Georgia’s six-week abortion ban


A Fulton County judge overturned Georgia’s six-week abortion ban, ruling that two key parts of the law were “manifestly unconstitutional as they were drafted, voted on and enacted,” and wrote that the law was unenforceable.

The 15-page ruling by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney stemmed from a lawsuit arguing that the state’s “heartbeat bill” violated Georgia’s constitutional rights to liberty and privacy for pregnant women.The plaintiffs also argued that the law was violated US Constitution at the time It was enacted in 2019 when Roe v Wade Still the law of the land.

“It’s really important for Georgians to see these types of victories when the opposition is pushing us so hard to back down,” said Monica Simpson, executive director of the advocacy group SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, which is leading the case. plaintiff.

Access to abortions in Georgia returned to pre-ban levels up to 22 weeks of pregnancy after Tuesday’s decision.

Andrew Isenhour and Brian Kemp (R), spokesman for the Georgia governor, said in a statement that the ruling “places the personal convictions of the judges over the will of the Georgia legislature and people.” On.” The Georgia Attorney General’s Office immediately appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.

When Kemp signed it into law in 2019, Georgia’s abortion laws were among the strictest in the country. The law prohibits abortions until about six weeks after fetal heart activity is detected.It was blocked from taking effect until the Supreme Court overturned it this summer Roe v WadeDecades of conservation measures.

In his decision, McBurney wrote that the relevant legal environment to consider “is not our current post-Roe Dobbsian era, but the legal environment that existed when HB 481 was enacted,” “based on the precedent governing Georgia.”

“At the time—spring of 2019—across the United States, including Georgia, it was clearly unconstitutional for governments—federal, state, or local—to ban abortion before it was feasible,” he wrote.

Kemp, who won re-election last week, is likely to face pressure from anti-abortion advocates to pass new restrictions once the Legislature reconvenes in January.

Alice Wang, a lawyer for the Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the groups representing the plaintiffs, said there was “great concern” that Georgia lawmakers might try to pass another six-week or even a blanket abortion ban.

Abortion rights advocates score major midterm victory in US

“The vast majority of Americans support abortion,” Wang said. “These strict abortion bans do not reflect the will of the people.”

However, national anti-abortion groups and politicians slammed Tuesday’s ruling as judicial activism. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, said in a statement that McBurney “disregarded the wishes of the voters and instead imposed his own pro-abortion bias on the state of Georgia.”

Meanwhile, abortion providers quickly began working with their staff to determine when to resume offering abortions after six weeks.

Planned Parenthood Southeast, which has four clinics in Georgia, said it was working with its operations and legal teams to determine when services would resume and hoped to do so “immediately.” Amy Kennedy, the group’s vice president for external affairs, said the group’s patient access center had been “flooded” with calls Tuesday since the ruling was announced.

Carafem’s legal team, which operates a network of clinics and telehealth services and has an office in Atlanta, began discussing the ruling quickly after it came down.

Melissa Grant, Carafem’s chief operating officer, said: “We are now listening carefully to the legal counsel who are helping us look at today’s judgment, and we really hope that we can restart the service quickly.” But she added that Carafem needs “a little time reconfiguration” before its facilities can resume service.

In Georgia, 13 clinics have since continued to provide abortions roe was overthrown. One clinic has closed since the Supreme Court ruling in June, according to an October report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

Given Tuesday’s ruling, Georgia could become a destination for patients across the South if the procedure remains legal in the state. Even with the roughly six-week ban in place, Carafem suppliers are still seeing patients from states including Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi.

Source link