Lawsuit calls for temporary halt to Georgia's Heartbeat Law

A Fulton County judge heard arguments on a lawsuit challenging Georgia's Heartbeat Law on Monday. The law bans most abortions after a heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy.

The lawsuit was filed shortly after the Heartbeat Law went into effect this summer. Attorneys for a women's reproductive rights group want a Fulton County judge to issue a temporary injunction to halt Georgia's Heartbeat law.

"This affects reproductive health care across the board it has overturned 50 years of practice," said Andrea young with ACLU of Georgia.

The Heartbeat Law was originally by lawmakers and signed by Governor Brian Kemp in 2019, but did not go into effect right away because of lawsuits challenging its validity. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade this summer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit allowed the ban to go into effect.  

The lawsuit heard Monday by Judge Robert McBurney said the law should never have been allowed to go into effect.

"Void out of the gate because at the time of its passage in 2019, it violated the U.S. Constitution, and precedent set by Roe vs Wade and Casey vs Planned Parenthood," said Attorney Julia Stone.

The suit also argues the heartbeat abortion ban violates Georgia's constitution because it contains strong privacy protections.

"Georgia has a right to privacy that right to privacy extends to a person's body and health and that's what is being infringed on today," said Susan Lambiase with Planned Parenthood.

The lawsuit calls for a temporary restraining order while the lawsuit plays out. They said the heartbeat law affects many women and time is of the essence.

"It means they either have to forcibly remain pregnant or find a way to get out of state to go to a state that provides more access," said Lambiase.

The attorney had hoped for a Temporary Restraining Order immediately. They did not get that, but the judge said he plans to make a ruling shortly.