Federal Judge Blocks Georgia’s Anti-Abortion Ban

Georgia is the latest state to have its “heartbeat bill” blocked on Tuesday.

What We Know:

  • Judge Steve C. Jones of the United States District Court in Atlanta issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from going into effect.
  • Georgia was one of seven states to pass laws this year that would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat was detected, those states were Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi.
  • The bill was previously signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in May and was set to become law on Jan. 1. The heartbeat bill included exceptions to cases of rape or incest when a woman files a police report. The law would have outlawed abortions as early as six weeks, prior to many women knowing they are pregnant.
  • Jones said the U.S. Supreme Court has “repeatedly and unequivocally” upheld Roe v. Wade, saying a state may not ban abortion before a fetus is viable — established in Roe as between 24 and 26 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Jones also said the law was unconstitutional: “Under no circumstances whatsoever may a state prohibit or ban abortions at any point prior to viability,” he wrote in granting the injunction.
  • The injunction against the Georgia ban is temporary and the legal challenges to “heartbeat” laws in other states are also in progress.

The wave of near-total abortion bans that hit the country during the first half of the year has mostly been blocked.