July 15, 2020

Federal Judge Rules Against Georgia Heartbeat Law

Georgia state capitol
Photo credit: Robert Wilson / Flickr
On Monday, a federal judge ruled against a Georgia heartbeat law that would have banned most abortions once an unborn child's heartbeat is detectable.

Georgia's Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act signed in May 2019 would have made it illegal for abortionists to kill an unborn child once a fetal heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.”

A lawsuit from the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood convinced U.S. District Judge Steve Jones to block the law before it could take effect, and now Jones has ruled that the law is unconstitutional, potentially blocking it permanently.

“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,” Jones wrote.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said that they plan to appeal the ruling.