Tuesday afternoon, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney struck down Georgia’s six-week abortion ban. The ruling applies statewide. The ban had been in effect since July.
The law, titled Georgia’s Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, was written in 2019 and it bans most abortions the moment “a detectable human heartbeat” is present. Cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound in cells within an embryo that will become the heart. That process could take place as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many pregnancies are detected.
While the law includes exceptions for rape and incest only if a police report is filed. The law also permits later abortions when the mother’s life is at risk or a serious medical condition renders a fetus no longer viable.
Judge McBurney voided Georgia’s abortion ban under the belief that it was unconstitutional when the General Assembly passed the bill due to the fact Roe vs. Wade was still law of the land in 2019. Therefore, the Georgia General Assembly must try and pass the six-week ban again in the 2023 Legislative Session. McBurney also added the Legislature “determines in the sharp glare of public attention that it will undoubtedly and properly attend such an important and consequential debate whether the rights of unborn children justify such a restriction on women’s right to bodily autonomy and privacy.”
It will be a tenuous proposition because in 2019, the bill passed by one vote in the House.
Kara Richardson, a spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, said in an email that the office intends to pursue an “immediate appeal.”