Clock ticking for Georgia court to decide fate of state’s ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill

·2 min read

Three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the clock is now ticking for Georgia’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide if it will reinstate the state’s “heartbeat” abortion law.

Friday was the deadline for both sides to file legal briefs in the case.

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Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill, which effectively bans all abortions at six weeks, in 2019. The ACLU immediately challenged it and won, but the state appealed to the 11th Circuit. Judges at the time said they wanted to wait and see what the Supreme Court did with Roe v. Wade.


Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was in Clayton County, where he spoke to both the American Civil Liberties Union and the state attorney general’s office about what could happen next.

ACLU Georgia director Andrea Young said their legal challenge isn’t just about Roe v. Wade. They believe Georgia’s heartbeat abortion law is too vague, and that under it, even ride-share drivers could be arrested for transporting a woman to an abortion clinic.

“We also had the issue of personhood and vagueness, unconstitutional vagueness,” Young said.

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Elliot reached out to the state attorney general’s office, which had no comment on the ACLU’s brief. It did say it planned to file its own brief before the end of the day. But many experts say, with the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, it seems inevitable that the 11th Circuit will reinstate the abortion law.

Last month, the bill’s author, Kennesaw Republican Ed Setzler, said as much to Channel 2.

“I think in the summer of 2022, the Life Act will be in full effect here in Georgia,” Setzler said.

Most believe the 11th Circuit may make its decision before the end of the month. The ACLE is also planning to challenge the law in state court, because they believe the Georgia constitution offers more of a right to privacy than the U.S. constitution.