By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia officials Friday asked a court to immediately block a judge’s decision overturning the state’s abortion ban. The verdict allowed the procedure to be repeated beyond the sixth week of pregnancy.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney’s decision earlier this week was “remarkable” and was based on a “completely unsupported theory that has no basis in law, precedent or common sense,” the attorney general’s office said in court documents , which were filed with the Georgia Supreme Court.
It asked the High Court for an order immediately staying McBurney’s decision while the judges need more time to consider an appeal. Such an order would restore the state’s ban on abortion, which began around the sixth week of pregnancy.
“This court should stay the lower court’s decision now, without waiting to overturn it months later while countless unborn children suffer the lasting consequences,” wrote Stephen Petrany, Georgia Attorney General.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, which represented doctors and advocacy groups calling for McBurney to overturn the law, said the judge’s ruling was correct and should stand. It also found that abortion providers were performing the procedure again six weeks after its decision.
“Adequate reproductive health care has resumed in this state and should continue – with Georgian women and their partners free to make private decisions about when and if they start a family, without politicians,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia a statement.
McBurney ruled Tuesday that the state’s abortion ban was invalid because it was a precedent set by the US Supreme Court under Roe when it was signed into law in 2019. v. Wade and another ruling allowed abortions well beyond six weeks. Legislatures exceed their powers when they pass laws that violate a constitutional right declared by the judiciary, he wrote, adding that such laws are void if passed.
The decision immediately barred nationwide enforcement of the abortion ban. It had been in effect since July and banned most abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” was present.
Heart activity can be detected by ultrasound in cells within an embryo, which eventually become the heart about six weeks into pregnancy. This means that most abortions in Georgia were effectively banned at a time before many people knew they were pregnant.
In his court filing, Petrany noted that the Georgia ban came into effect after the US Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade had picked up. When court precedents are overridden, they were never law, he wrote.
“No other court has ever ruled that an overruled court decision, like a zombie that has risen from the grave, can overrule otherwise perfectly valid laws,” he claimed.
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