ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A federal judge heard arguments over whether Georgia's restrictive new abortion law should be allowed to take effect while a legal challenge is pending.
The law bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy before many women know they're pregnant.
The legislation makes exceptions in the case of rape and incest if the woman files a police report first. It also allows for abortions when the life of the woman is at risk or when a fetus is determined not to be viable because of a serious medical condition.
Monday, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones heard arguments from both sides and ultimately ruled that he would not make a decision today, saying that he would make a ruling as soon as possible.
Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit earlier this year against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Attorney General Chris Carr, state health officials, and six district attorneys whose jurisdictions include the areas where the abortion providers who brought the suit practice.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the ACLU said that the ban was in "clear violation of Roe v. Wade and nearly a half-century of Supreme Court precedent reaffirming Roe's central holding."
When Kemp signed the law in May, he acknowledged a court challenge was likely. But he said then that he was undeterred.
"I realize that some may challenge it in the court of law," Kemp said at the time. "We will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life."
Lawyers for the state argue that the law is constitutional and should be allowed to take effect as planned on Jan. 1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.