Fulton County judge lifts Georgia’s six-week abortion ban – Decaturish

Atlanta, GA – The Fulton County Superior Court on Nov. 15 overturned the state’s six-week abortion ban, saying the law was unconstitutional under the Georgia Constitution.

The court’s injunction was granted in a lawsuit filed by abortion providers and attorneys earlier this year, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

Judge Robert McBurney overturned the six-week abortion ban, saying the law was “plainly unconstitutional” when it was passed by the legislature in 2019, the Georgia Recorder reported.

The General Assembly passed House Bill 481, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, in April 2019. Governor Brian Kemp signed it into law in May 2019. The law went into effect in July 2022 following a federal appeals court ruling.

Before the Federal Court’s decision, abortion was legal in some cases in Georgia for up to 22 weeks.

The law criminalizes abortions that occur after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs about six weeks into pregnancy, the decision said.

The Georgia Constitution prohibits the legislature from passing legislation that violates federal constitutional precedent.

Again, the LIFE Act did all of these things in Spring 2019 when the Supreme Law of this country was clear – and has been for almost half a century – that laws Over-restricting abortion before profitability is unconstitutional,” McBurney wrote in his statement.

He also stated that the legal environment in which the bill’s constitutionality is to be judged is not the current post-Roe era, but rather the legal environment that existed prior to the passage of the bill. Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade up.

He further ordered that a subsequent amendment to the federal constitutional law, which Dobb’s decisionShe will not revive the ban. If lawmakers are to ban abortion, they must pass new legislation “under the keen eye of the public, who will undoubtedly and adequately participate in so important and momentous a debate,” McBurney wrote in his order.

The order also removes a requirement that physicians must report to the state Department of Public Health if an abortion falls under the state’s narrow exceptions, such as in the case of rape if a police report has been filed, according to the Georgia Recorder .

McBurney did not offer a ruling on whether the abortion restrictions in the 2019 law would be permissible under the state constitution.

“Whether the Georgian constitution supports a post-heartbeat ban (with certain exceptions for medical emergencies, rape, etc.) is not decided here because it is not (yet) the law in Georgia,” McBurney wrote.

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) was grateful for the decision.

“I was grateful that we had an intellectually honest judge who was willing to apply the law. I think Judge McBurney is universally respected by attorneys I know and I think his decision is legally correct,” Oliver said.

She anticipates an appeal from the state and said there will be an ongoing policy discussion in the Georgia General Assembly.

“House Bill 481 will continue until we have a final decision from the Georgia Supreme Court on the Georgia Constitution,” Oliver said.

Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, the lead plaintiff in the case, said that while the organization welcomed the end of the ban, it shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

“After a long road, we can finally celebrate the end of an extreme abortion ban in our state,” Simpson said in a press release. “Now is the time to move forward with a vision for Georgia that creates full physical autonomy and liberation for our communities.”

She added that SisterSong will continue to work toward a Georgia where everyone has the freedom to choose to have children and raise families in thriving communities.

“We will have to keep fighting in Georgia to hold our lawmakers accountable, but this ruling proves we have the power to keep winning,” Simpson said.

The ruling recognizes that the General Assembly’s decision to restrict access to abortion was in clear violation of the law, said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.

“Today [Nov. 15] is a great day for Georgia women and for all Georgians,” said Young. “We hope that the Georgia Supreme Court will uphold this right, thereby reinforcing Georgia’s longstanding rule that the legislature cannot pass legislation that violates our constitutional protections.”

Amy Kennedy, vice president of foreign affairs at Planned Parenthood Southeast, added that the ruling offers relief from the six-week abortion ban, but threats to Georgians’ rights and health remain when politicians try to interfere in personal decisions.

“We already know that anti-abortion advocates will stop at nothing until abortion is outlawed,” Kennedy said. “This is a crucial step in the long fight for reproductive freedom. We stand ready to do whatever we can to ensure abortion treatment is available and accessible to everyone in Georgia.”

That case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Georgia, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Georgia-based law firms Caplan Cobb and Bondurant Mixson & Elmore on behalf of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Feminist Women’s Health Center, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc., Atlanta Comprehensive Wellness Clinic, Atlanta Women’s Medical Center, FemHealth USA d/b/a carafem, Summit Medical Associates, PC, Carrie Cwiak, MD, MPH, Lisa Haddad, MD, MS, MPH , Eva Lathrop, MD, MPH and medical students to choose from.

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