The Supreme Court of Georgia upheld the state’s law that generally protects preborn babies from abortions once a heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks into the pregnancy.
The Oct. 24 ruling allows the law to remain in effect while court challenges continue. The law includes an exception for babies conceived in rape or incest, allowing them to be aborted at up to 20 weeks in the womb.
The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law, and a lower court had agreed with the ACLU. This decision overturns that ruling.
The theory from the ACLU was that the 2019 law was unconstitutional when it was passed. The group argued on behalf of the abortion industry that at the time it was passed in 2019, it “violated the United States Constitution as interpreted by [the] then-controlling-but-since-overruled decisions of the United States Supreme Court,” Justice Verda Colvin explained for the majority.
“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 said.
She wrote that the court must apply Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the current federal standard, in its decision.
Abortionists and abortion supporters will now continue to argue the law “violates Georgians’ rights to privacy and equal protection under the state Constitution,” according to a statement from the ACLU.
The law is a positive development for preborn babies and pro-life advocates in the state, though plenty of work remains.
Georgia residents had more than 35,000 abortions in 2022, according to data obtained by the Charlotte Lozier Institute; 60% of these abortions took place at six weeks gestation or earlier. This means thousands of babies could still be saved each year.
The data on abortions also does not fully capture women who might get chemical abortion drugs through the mail.
This is why it is important for Georgia to continue to fight against abortion while also supporting pregnant mothers, babies, and families in choosing life through financial and other support services.