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ATLANTA, Georgia (LifeSiteNews) — The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to the state’s efforts to protect preborn babies, upholding a law banning abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks’ gestation, pending further litigation. Abortions rates in the state have been cut in around half following the enforcement of the law.

In a 6-1 decision on Tuesday, the Georgia Supreme Court threw out a lower court ruling that called the state’s heartbeat law “unconstitutional.”

Georgia enacted its Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act in 2019, and it officially took effect last summer after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the purported nationwide “right” to abortion. Citing data from the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), National Right to Life reported that nearly 50% fewer abortions have taken place each month since the heartbeat law took effect. 

The Life Act inspired a slew of similar laws nationwide and prohibits abortion after a heartbeat can be detected, except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” Pro-lifers point out that life begins at conception, the deliberate killing of a preborn baby is never medically necessary, and that preborn babies are not at fault for the conditions of their conception.

Despite their weaknesses, heartbeat laws have been credited with sharply reducing the number of abortions committed. 

The law was immediately challenged by pro-abortion activists but took effect following the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022. Last November, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney argued the law violated the Constitution.

On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court upheld its prior determination that McBurney’s ruling had been incorrect. 

READ: Georgia Supreme Court reinstates 6-week abortion ban

“The trial court erred in relying on overruled decisions of the United States supreme court to conclude that portions of the Life Act violated the United States constitution when enacted in 2019,” said Georgia Supreme Court Justice Verda Colvin in the majority opinion. 

“Because Dobbs is controlling precedent on whether the United States constitution confers a right to abortion, and because the parties and the trial court do not dispute that the Life Act complies with Dobbs, it follows that the Life Act did not violate the United States constitution when enacted in 2019,” Colvin wrote.

The decision will allow the six-week ban to remain in effect pending ongoing litigation.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America hailed the ruling by the state’s highest court in a Tuesday press release, saying that the decision will save babies’ lives from “brutal abortions.”

“Today’s Georgia Supreme Court decision ensures that tens of thousands of children with beating hearts will continue to be protected from brutal abortions,” SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said. “It is the latest vindication of the will of Georgians, who have compassion for both babies and mothers, along with lawmakers like Governor Kemp and many others who heard them and acted.”

Dannenfelser pointed out that 25 states, representing half of the U.S., have implemented laws providing some measure of protection for the preborn following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe. 

MAP: Most abortions are banned in 14 states, more states to follow

The SBA president extended her congratulations to Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, state Attorney General Christopher Carr, “all our local allies, and the people of Georgia on a long and well-fought battle.”

“Life is winning in hearts and minds nationwide,” she said. “When you lead and stand boldly for life, Americans will stand with you.”