The Superior Court of Fulton County had declined a move to block Georgia’s “heartbeat law”, which means that it will continue to be illegal to have an abortion or to provide one after six weeks of pregnancy in most cases.
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The ruling comes after Georgia abortion providers and advocates filed a lawsuit last month challenging the ban, which went into effect July 20. Monday’s ruling only denied immediate emergency relief of the block on abortions past six weeks as the challenges work their way through the legal system. It not a final resolution to the case, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The legal challenges will continue.
The “heartbeat” abortion law was passed in 2019, but not put into place until Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year.
Under the new law, abortions after about six weeks are allowed in cases of rape and incest, as long as a police report is filed. Abortion is also allowed when a mother’s life is at risk, or if the fetus cannot survive.
The legal challenge argues that the ban was void from the start because it violates federal constitutional precedent and because of Georgia’s right-to-privacy laws.
“The court’s decision today declining to block the abortion ban is extremely disappointing and leaves in place a law that severely compromises the quality of women’s health care in the state of Georgia,” said Andrea Young, executive director of ACLU of Georgia. “Ultimately, the power is with Georgia voters to affirm our right to privacy and to make personal, private and intimate decisions without government interference.”
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Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spoke to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp when the law went into effect.
“We are overjoyed that the court has paved the way for the implementation of Georgia’s Life Act, and as mothers navigate pregnancy, birth, parenthood or alternative options to parenthood, like adoption, Georgia’s public, private and nonprofit sectors stand ready to provide the resources they need to be safe, healthy and informed,” Kemp said.