Abortion providers and advocacy groups in Atlanta have filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the state’s recently passed anti-abortion laws.
According to the AP, lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights have filed a lawsuit challenging the new Georgia law that bans abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy. The lawsuit requests that the abortion ban is withheld and declared unconstitutional. If not, the controversial law will go into effect January 1, 2020.
ACLU of Georgia’s legal director Sean Young said, “The U.S. Supreme Court has clearly held that a woman has the freedom to make one of the most intimate decisions that she can make.”
The “heartbeat” law bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy- before many women know they’re pregnant. The legislation does make exceptions in cases of rape and incest, but only if the woman files a police report first. It also allows for abortions when the life of the woman is at risk or when a fetus is determined not to be viable because of a serious medical condition.
The lawsuit, filed against Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Attorney General Chris Carr, state health officials and six district attorneys, says, “This law is an affront to the dignity and health of Georgians. It is, in particular, 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 suit also says women choose to have abortions “for a variety of deeply personal reasons” that include family circumstances, medical concerns, and financial situations. If the law takes effect, some women will have to travel out of state for the procedure, while other women will remain pregnant and give birth against their will or seek to end their pregnancies by other means, putting them at further risk.
Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Alabama have all passed similar abortion bans, but none of them have taken effect and are all expected to be blocked by courts while legal challenges continue.