Abortion Now Banned In Georgia, Hearbeat Law Takes Effect Immediately

In a highly unorthodox move, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an immediate stay of a lower court’s injunction of Georgia’s six-week ban, rather than waiting the normal 28-day period for the official mandate to be issued. This means the state’s six-week ban takes effect today, pushing abortion out of reach for Georgians before many even know they’re pregnant. The court took this action on its own, without any request from the state, and outside of the normal court procedures. 

The ruling which was initially due to take effect later this summer, bans abortion at approximately six weeks of pregnancy — before many people even know they’re pregnant — and redefining “person” throughout Georgia law to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development. The abortion ban also known as the Heartbeat Law not only limits abortions at six weeks of pregnancy will also impact miscarriage management, threatening physicians with draconian criminal penalities if they provide medically appropriate care for an in-progress miscarriage unless their patient’s health has already deteriorated to the point of a medical emergency.

Prior to the Heartbeat Law abortions were legal in Georgia up to 21 weeks and six days of pregnancy, as dated from a patient’s last menstrual period. 

Under Georgia’s Heartbeat Law:

  • Parents would be able to claim their unborn child as a dependent on state income taxes.  
  • Mothers can receive child support for their unborn children.
  • The unborn baby will be counted towards Georgia’s population

“Abortion bans hurt Black Women, low-income folks, and Queer and trans families the most,” said Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.“The women and families of Georgia deserve better. We all deserve better. No matter how long it takes, we are here in this battle until everyone has full bodily autonomy.”

In a joint statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Georgia, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Southeast, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This is a highly unorthodox action that will immediately push essential abortion care out of reach for patients beyond the earliest stages of pregnancy. Across the state, providers are now being forced to turn away patients who thought they would be able to access abortion, immediately changing the course of their lives and futures. This is horrific. We’ll continue doing everything in our power to fight for abortion access in Georgia in the face of these harmful attacks on people’s ability to control if and when to have a child.”

The national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America celebrated as a federal appeals court ruled that Georgia’s Heartbeat Law should be allowed to take effect, reversing a lower court ruling. Signed by Governor Brian Kemp in 2019, the law protects unborn children from abortion as soon as their heartbeat can be detected. The law will take effect as soon as the district court acts on the ruling.

“We thank Governor Brian Kemp, Attorney General Chris Carr, and all our pro-life allies in the Peach State for their consistent courage in fighting for compassionate, life-saving laws.”

SBA Pro-Life America’s Candidate Fund recently endorsed Kemp in the governor’s race against pro-abortion Democrat Stacey Abrams. SBA Pro-Life America and its partner, Women Speak Out PAC, have boots on the ground in Georgia and have visited over 244,000 homes to discuss anti-abortion policies.

This election cycle, SBA Pro-Life America and its affiliated entities plan to spend $78 million to promote and implement more restrictive reproduction legislation. This includes reaching eight million voters across battleground states – four million directly at their doors – to educate them on key issues and elect pro-life leaders across America and in D.C.

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