A coalition of pro-choice groups are calling for an injunction against Georgia’s heartbeat bill, which they call “plainly unconstitutional.”
This comes at a time when Georgia is presenting their argument as to how they will protect the fetal heartbeat law.
In defense against legal challenges, this week, in an Atlanta federal court, the state of Georgia argued that it has a substantial interest in protecting life.
The fetal heartbeat bill was signed by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on May 7th, and it outlaws abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Around this time, other states were also actively involved in passing their own legislation with the same goal, which even included Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signing a similar anti-abortion bill for his own state.
As expected, this drew criticism.
Critics of the heartbeat bill argue that a heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks in the pregnancy, and they add that many women do not know that they are pregnant at that time.
Lawyers for the state of Georgia argue that the law is not a categorical ban on abortions after six weeks. In addition, they note that it depends on the unique circumstances of a pregnancy and the instruments that the physician uses. As well, they argue that heartbeats may not be perceived until 12 weeks and that the law provides several exceptions.
Moreover, they argue that all pre-viability abortions are not unconstitutional.
Citing a decision from the 2007 Supreme Court where they upheld a categorical ban on partial birth abortions at any point in a pregnancy, the Court also recognized Georgia’s interest in protecting the medical profession’s reputation by prohibiting graphic abortion procedures.
The state maintains that the same interests are currently at play.
In a filing opposing a motion for a preliminary injunction by SisterSong, a national activist organization dedicated to fighting for reproductive justice for women of color, Georgia lawyers argued that “the act advances Georgia’s unique and substantial constitutional interest in protecting unborn human lives, in addition to its interests in protecting maternal health, encouraging childbirth, and safeguarding the integrity of the medical profession.”