Abortions are once again legal in the state of Georgia. At least for the time being.
According to the According to the New York Times, Judge Robert C.I. McBurney of the Fulton County Superior Court on Tuesday blocked the state’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, saying the law was unconstitutional when the state legislature approved it in 2019 — more than three years before the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to abortion. Judge McBurney wrote in his order that the six-week ban was enacted when “everywhere in America, including Georgia, it was unequivocally unconstitutional for governments — federal, state, or local — to ban abortions before viability. [The statute] did not become the law of Georgia when it was enacted and it is not the law of Georgia now.”
This ruling is a game-changer for pregnant women in Georgia who are looking at their options.
Following the uproar when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade, which initially went into law in 1973, many states enacted laws banning abortions under certain circumstances. Georgia enacted a law prohibiting abortions upon detection of “fetal cardiac detection” at around six weeks.
Proponents of abortion rights argued during an October trial that the new Georgia law had violated a pregnant woman’s constitutional right to privacy.
“Even if the court were to find that the state did have a compelling interest in protecting an embryo beginning just two weeks after a patient’s last menstrual period, the grossly inadequate exceptions make clear that this sweeping ban is far from the least restrictive means [of doing so],” said Julia Kaye, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, according to Politico.
The supporters of the abortion ban in Georgia provided counter-arguments, stating that there is no right to privacy when a woman seeks an abortion in the state.
“There is no right to abortion under Georgia’s constitution. There’s nothing that even hints at a right to abortion under Georgia’s constitution,” Solicitor General Stephen Petrany said, according to the publication. “We want to protect that third party and, to us, that’s really just the end of the case.”
The judge’s ruling allowing abortions is expected to be appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.