A Fulton County judge in Georgia has overturned the state’s six-week ban on abortion, ruling that it violated Supreme Court precedent and the US constitution when it was passed in 2019.
The law, known as the LIFE (Living Infants Fairness and Equality) Act, passed the state senate and house and was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019. The law was initially blocked for violating the then-constitutional right to abortion, but was reenacted in July after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that struck down federal abortion rights. This, Judge Robert McBurney writes, was erroneous. “Per controlling Georgia precedent, the proper legal milieu in which to assess the LIFE Act’s constitutionality is not our current post-Roe Dobbsian era but rather the legal environment that existed when H.B. 481 was enacted,” the opinion says.
“Today’s ruling is an enormous victory for our patients and our state,” said Kwajelyn Jackson, executive director of Feminist Women’s Health Center. “Our mission for the last nearly 50 years has been to provide our patients with access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including abortion. With today’s victory under our belts, we will be able to finally resume providing this essential health care to our community.”
Still, Georgia’s appellate courts have not weighed in, and it’s very possible that the state may request a stay of the order. But for now, we’ll take the good news where we can get it.