In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decided on June 24 that abortion is not expressly permitted by the US Constitution. The Roe v. Wade decision was reversed by a 6-3 majority judgment, which stated that the people and their state’s elected officials could determine the matter. The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in July challenging a new state statute that outlaws abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy.
The ACLU contended that the statute coerced women into giving birth and violated their right to privacy under the Georgia Constitution. Judge Robert McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court made the winning decision on Tuesday, November 15. However, his decision wasn’t based on the claim; he rejected it for a different reason.
In the litigation, McBurney’s ruling was based on a different tenet. Because it was passed into law in 2019, he claimed the abortion restriction was invalid. The 1973 ruling was still in effect at the time of the signing even though the law didn’t take effect until the SCOTUS overruled Roe. He determined that this rendered the law invalid. The judge ruled that the decision will take effect statewide right away.
State attorneys filed an appeal, according to Georgia Attorney General spokesperson Kara Richardson, and will faithfully carry out their duty to uphold the law in court. According to Andrew Isenhour, a spokesman for Gov. Brian Kemp (R), the “personal beliefs of the judge” prevailed over the wishes of the people’s elected officials. He pledged to fight for unborn infants on behalf of the state.
The bill’s proponent, state representative Ed Setzler (R), expressed his confidence that the Georgia Supreme Court would uphold the contentious restriction. Abortion is prohibited once a human heart can be seen, according to the law. Around six weeks into a pregnancy, ultrasonography can detect the heartbeat of an embryo.
Georgia was given permission by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to start enforcing its new law in July. However, McBurney said that it was unconstitutional for governments to outlaw abortion before viability at the time the law was passed in 2019. He claimed that as a result, the law was not in force when it was signed and is no longer the law of Georgia.
The judge did, however, leave open the possibility that, now that Roe had been overturned, the legislature might adopt the ban under Dobbs and the governor might sign it into law.
The decision may add pressure on the campaigns in the US Senate runoff election on December 6 between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Senate Republican candidate Hershel Walker.