Georgia may soon follow the line of states that have moved to ban or severely limit the practice of abortion following the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ruled that the Peach State’s previously blocked six-week abortion ban may proceed after it was stayed in a lower court’s injunction.
“The decision allows the state to ban all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected by an ultrasound, though it includes exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies,” noted the Hill. “It also redefines ‘person’ throughout Georgia law to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development.”
“Georgia’s law provides exceptions for rape and incest, provided a police report is filed, and for fetuses younger than 20 weeks,” it continued. “It also will allow for later abortions in cases of a medical emergency, and if a doctor determined pregnancy to be ‘medically futile.'”
Georgia passed the law in 2019 only to have the law overturned by a district court judge who ruled the law unconstitutional on the basis of Roe v. Wade. The Wednesday decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals effectively reflects the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish the 1973 decision and return abortion to the states.
“Georgia’s prohibition on abortions after detectable human heartbeat is rational. ‘[R]espect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development’ is a legitimate interest,” the court ruled. “The Georgia Legislature’s findings acknowledge a state interest in “providing full legal recognition to an unborn child.’ That ‘legitimate interest provide[s] a rational basis for’ and ‘justif[ies]’ the Act.”
The Georgia law also explicitly says that removing an ectopic pregnancy does not constitute an abortion.
Pro-abortion activists in the state decried the recent court’s ruling.
“Today’s ruling is yet another consequence of the dangerous decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow politicians to interfere in these personal medical decisions,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA). “While we may grieve this ruling, we can’t give into despair.”
“Abortion bans hurt Black Women, low-income folks, and Queer and trans families the most,” said Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. “The women and families of Georgia deserve better. We all deserve better. No matter how long it takes, we are here in this battle until everyone has full bodily autonomy.”
Georgia Life Alliance told LifeNews celebrated the ruling as a win for pro-life legislation in the state.
“We are proud to have led the fight to pass this law by writing the first draft and creating a statewide coalition of pro-life supporters to work alongside pro-life lawmakers to ensure it’s passage. Georgia is now the first state in the nation to recognize the personhood of preborn babies, making our Heartbeat Bill the strongest pro-life law in the nation,” the group said.
BREAKING: Federal court rules Georgia’s heartbeat law can go into effect
The law says once a heartbeat is detected:
→ baby can be claimed as a dependent on state income taxes
→ moms can file for child support
→ baby counted toward Georgia population https://t.co/2dfF3W6R0f
— SBA Pro-Life America LifeSavingLaws.com (@sbaprolife) July 20, 2022