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Federal judge blocks Georgia law banning most abortions on babies with heartbeats

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said the state would appeal the ruling.
Tue Jul 14, 2020 - 11:59 am EST
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GEORGIA, July 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A federal judge has blocked Georgia’s 2019 law banning most abortions on babies with detectable heartbeats, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Signed into law in May 2019, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act (HB 481) would forbid abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” 

If allowed to take effect, it would have banned abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – when a baby’s heartbeat can be detected.

Last year abortion advocates with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), and Planned Parenthood challenged the law’s constitutionality and U.S. District Judge Steve Jones placed an injunction on the law before it ever took effect.

And yesterday Jones blocked the law altogether.

“The court rejects the state defendants' argument that the statutory purpose solely concerns ‘promoting fetal well-being,’” Jones wrote.

“Instead, HB 481’s specific references to Roe v. Wade and ‘established abortion related precedents’ ... lends support to plaintiffs' argument that the purpose of H.B. 481 was to ban or de facto ban abortion," he continued.

Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, both Republicans, said that they would appeal the ruling.

“Georgia values life, and we will keep fighting for the rights of the unborn,” Kemp said in a statement.

Yesterday, a similar law in Tennessee which would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected alongside a range of other abortion restrictions and conditions, was signed into law but was immediately stopped from taking effect by a lawsuit.

The Georgia ruling is the latest in a number of rulings on state abortion laws following last month’s June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision which judged that it is unconstitutional to require abortion facilities to establish admitting privileges with nearby hospitals in the event of life-threatening complications.

Last week an Indiana federal judge ruled that a state law mandating the reporting of medical complications associated with abortions is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court of Missouri recently overturned a state law which blocking taxpayer funding of abortion facilities, with judges concluding that the ban was in in conflict with Missouri’s state constitution.


  abortion, brian kemp, heartbeat bill, heartbeat law

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