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Federal judge says Georgia’s heartbeat abortion bill is unconstitutional

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A federal judge has ruled Georgia’s heartbeat abortion bill is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

The law essentially banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy but makes exceptions for rape, incest and the mother’s health.

District Judge Steve C. Jones wrote in his ruling that the law violated a woman’s constitutional right to access to the procedure as established by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

“HB 481 violates the constitutional right to privacy which, in turn, inflicts per se irreparable harm on plaintiffs,” Jones wrote in a 67-page order.

U.S. Supreme Court precedent has for nearly five decades held that states cannot ban abortion prior to the viability of a fetus, and since Georgia’s law does just that it is unconstitutional, the law’s opponents argued. The state argued that the law promoted fetal well-being. It was widely considered as one of a number of attempts to create fresh legal challenged to abortion after two new conservative justices were confirmed to the Supreme Court. The high court, by a 5-4 ruling on June 29, struck down another of those challenges involving regulations from Louisiana.

As a result of his ruling, Jones wrote, “the state of Georgia’s abortion laws that were in effect prior to the passage of H.B. 481 remain in effect.”

The state is expected to appeal the decision.

 

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