Last Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit against Georgia’s restrictive six-week abortion ban in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The legal challenge states that the Georgia law is “an attack on low-income Georgians, Georgians of color, and rural Georgians, who are least able to access medical care and least able to overcome the cruelties of this law.”
The lawsuit also argues that the new Georgia law violates the right to privacy and liberty guaranteed in the 14th Amendment, stating that new definitions of “person” and “human being” are too vague to be enforced.
If the law is not blocked, clinics and physicians will be forced to turn away patients seeking critical medical care, in a state that already faces a shortage of reproductive health care providers. The bill would result in worse health outcomes, particularly for black women, who are three times as likely to die from a pregnancy related cause.
Earlier in May, Governor Kemp signed the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, which outlaws all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around 6 weeks into pregnancy—before many women even know they are pregnant. It is set to go into effect in January of 2020.
Georgia’s law is part of a wave of abortion restrictions and bans passed by states such as Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana and Ohio. However, Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, maintained that “none of these laws are in effect, and we are fighting to keep it that way. For nearly half a century, the Supreme Court has protected the right to abortion, and we know the majority of Americans continue to support abortion access.”
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 5/7/19, LA Times 6/28/19, NBC News 6/28/19, CNN 6/28/19, NPR 6/28/19