The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily blocked a Fulton County Supreme Court ruling overturning the state’s abortion law.
A Fulton County Superior Court judge ruled on November 15 that Georgia’s law banning most abortions after six weeks is illegal because the law was unconstitutional at the time it was passed. The verdict went into effect nationwide with immediate effect.
Read:Order in Georgia Supreme Court case considering state abortion law
Within hours, the Georgia Attorney General’s office filed an appeal, asking the Georgia Supreme Court to review the verdict. They also asked the court to temporarily block the verdict, which the court has now done.
It’s been a busy day for the Supreme Court, which also ruled on Wednesday that Saturday’s early vote could go ahead in the Senate runoff.
Lower court blocks abortion law
Fulton County Judge Robert CI McBurney wrote that, based on precedent, a law that was unconstitutional when it was passed remains unconstitutional. Such is the case with Georgia’s 2019 Abortion Law, colloquially known as the LIFE Act or the “Heartbeat Bill”.
“When the courts have spoken clearly and directly as to what is the law, what is constitutional, and what is not, legislators and legislators are not free to enact legislation contrary to such pronouncements,” McBurney wrote in his decision.
Previous verdict:Fulton Superior Court overturns Heartbeat Bill banning most abortions in Georgia
Abortion and Elections:Abortion stirs emotions. How Georgian candidates are using the issue to get voters to the polls
The lawsuit was filed in July by organizations providing reproductive health services in Georgia. It was filed after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Abortion Act – which was blocked by the Court’s decisions at the time of its passage – could finally be enacted after the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade had overridden. Many of the plaintiffs are the same as those who sued in federal courts to stop the statewide ban.
The ruling would not prevent the state legislature from passing a similar or even more restrictive ban under the new constitutional framework of Dobbs v. Jackson, the ruling earlier this year that overturned the constitutional right to abortion. Still, the organizations that filed the lawsuit hailed the verdict as a victory, while anti-abortion activists condemned the verdict.