During the midterm elections, pro-choice advocates took their fight to Georgia’s state court. They sought to overturn the state’s six-week abortion ban, which had been in place since the year abortion was legal nationwide. They argued that the law violated the state’s constitution and privacy protections.
In response to the lawsuit, the state’s attorney general’s office indicated they planned to appeal the ruling. They asked the state Supreme Court to “stay” the lower court’s order halting the ban while the appeal was ongoing. In the meantime, abortion providers began scheduling abortions up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
In a one-page ruling, the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the ban. However, the court refused to give abortion providers 24 hours’ notice that the law would be reinstituted. They said the lack of notice would cause chaos.
Several reproductive rights groups have filed lawsuits against the state. They argue that the ban is unconstitutional because it prevents abortions after the heartbeat of a fetus has been detected. Cardiac activity in embryo cells can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
Attorneys for the state told the state Supreme Court that it was in the public interest to halt McBurney’s ruling. The plaintiffs argued that reinstituting the ban would cause irreparable harm to women. They also argued that the ban would violate the state’s constitution.
However, abortion providers are cautious about the potential reinstatement of the ban. They say that forcing patients to carry pregnancies to term will cause them severe medical consequences. They also argue that the law will hurt people with the least resources. They say that they are the least likely to travel out of state for care.