Georgia Keeps Six-Week Abortion Ban But Orders Another Trial

Activists rally outside the State Capitol in support of abortion rights in Atlanta, Georgia on May 14, 2022. - Thousands of activists are participating in a national day of action calling for safe and legal access to abortion. The nationwide demonstrations are a response to leaked draft opinion showing the US Supreme Court's conservative majority is considering overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion access. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage / AFP) (Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
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Activists rally outside the State Capitol in support of abortion rights in Atlanta, Georgia in 2022.

On Tuesday, the Georgia state Supreme Court allowed the state’s six-week abortion ban to remain in place while ordering yet another trial about the constitutionality of the law by a lower trial court.

Gov. Brian Kemp—the Republican governor who ran on anti-abortion policy positions—signed the law, called the LIFE Act, in 2019, which included the six-week abortion ban (a time period when most patients don’t yet realize they’re pregnant), expanded tax dependency status for fetuses, and expanded prosecutors’ access to medical records. Following an immediate legal challenge by an abortion rights coalition, which included the Atlanta abortion clinic Feminist Women’s Health Center, a federal court kept the law from taking effect until July 2022—about three weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. That month, a federal appeals court made the unusual decision of immediately instating the law, changing Georgia’s abortion limits from 22 weeks to 6 weeks in an instant.

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“I applaud Justice Colvin and the Georgia Supreme Court for ruling today that our written Constitution controls over judge-made law,” Kemp told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Today’s victory represents one more step towards ending this litigation and ensuring the lives of Georgians at all ages are protected.”

Plaintiffs were gutted in a statement released to reporters on Tuesday. Kwajelyn Jackson, executive director of Feminist Women’s Health Center, said they still get calls from people across the region who need abortion care. “It is heart-wrenching that we are being forced to turn patients away who need abortion care beyond the earliest weeks of pregnancy,” Jackson said in a statement to Jezebel. “We have been continuing to get calls from patients across Georgia and the Southeast who have nowhere in their own communities to turn to for care. Abortion is an essential component of reproductive health care, and this law is putting people’s lives at risk.”

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