Health

Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill, a ban on nearly all abortions, challenged in court today

Georgia governor signs heartbeat bill

Georgia’s controversial “heartbeat” law, a recent piece of legislation that would ban abortions after about six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, was challenged in court this morning by pro-abortion advocates who claim the new law is unconstitutional. The law was signed by Governor Brian Kemp in early May but isn’t set to be implemented until January 2020.

In a complaint jointly filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Georgia, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood on Friday, the groups say Georgia’s new law “practically bans all abortions” given that most women don’t know they’re pregnant by the time the legislation outlaws the procedure. The complaint also notes that the law disproportionately impacts “low-income Georgians, Georgians of color, and rural Georgians, who are least able to access medical care and least able to overcome the cruelties of this law.”

“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional under nearly 50 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” Sean J. Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia, said in a statement shared with CBS News. “Politicians have no business telling women or a couple when to start or expand a family.”

Georgia’s measure is part of an onslaught of anti-abortion laws that have been passed by state legislators in hopes of bringing a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that protects a woman’s legal right to abortion. Five other states — Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio — have also passed so-called “heartbeat” bans, while Alabama went a step further, passing a total ban on abortions earlier this year. However, none of those measures have been implemented and a handful have been blocked by judges.

“None of these laws are in effect, and we are fighting to keep it that way,” said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive officer at the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement shared with CBS News. “For nearly half a century, the Supreme Court has protected the right to abortion, and we know the majority of Americans continue to support abortion access.”


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