(OSV News) — The Georgia Supreme Court Oct. 24 rejected a lower court’s ruling, allowing a Georgia law restricting abortion after six weeks gestation to remain in effect amid ongoing legal challenges.
The law, a so-called “heartbeat” ban, called the LIFE Act prohibits with some exceptions abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected. Critics of such laws argue many women do not yet know they are pregnant at six weeks.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney called the law “unequivocally unconstitutional” last year because it was enacted in 2019, while Roe v. Wade was still in place.
But the Georgia Supreme Court rejected McBurney’s ruling in a 6-1 decision.
“When the United States Supreme Court overrules its own precedent interpreting the United States Constitution, we are then obligated to apply the Court’s new interpretation of the Constitution’s meaning on matters of federal constitutional law,” Justice Verda Colvin wrote in a majority opinion.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement that “we are pleased with the court’s decision and will continue to defend the constitutionality of Georgia’s LIFE Act.” “LIFE” stands for “Living Infants Fairness and Equality.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said, “Today’s Georgia Supreme Court decision ensures that tens of thousands of children with beating hearts will continue to be protected from brutal abortions.”
In her statement, Dannenfelser called the ruling “the latest vindication of the will of Georgians, who have compassion for both babies and mothers, along with lawmakers like Governor Kemp and many others who heard them and acted.”
“Twenty-five states — half the country — have pro-life protections in their law in the new Dobbs era. The majority of these states protect unborn children at least when their heartbeat can be detected, a point when science shows they have more than a 90% chance of surviving to birth,” she said. “We congratulate Governor Kemp, Attorney General Carr, all our local allies, and the people of Georgia on a long and well-fought battle. Life is winning in hearts and minds nationwide. When you lead and stand boldly for life, Americans will stand with you.”