Georgia Supreme Court upholds restrictive six-week abortion ban

Atlanta, Georgia - The Georgia Supreme Court has voted to uphold their restrictive abortion ban which denies termination of a baby after six weeks.

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled to uphold the state's six-week abortion ban on Tuesday.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled to uphold the state's six-week abortion ban on Tuesday.  © 123rf/phartisan

Georgia’s H.B. 481 law, which has been challenged by abortion rights advocates, bans most abortions in the state after six weeks. Last November, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled that this restrictive abortion ban was "unequivocally unconstitutional" because it was enacted in 2019, a time when Roe v. Wade allowed for abortions well past six weeks.

Yet on Tuesday, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected McBurney's ruling in a 6-1 decision, news outlets reported.

"When the United States Supreme Court overrules its precedent interpreting the United States Constitution, we are then obligated to apply the Court’s new interpretation of the Constitution’s meaning on matters of federal constitutional law," Justice Verda Colvin wrote in the decision for the majority.

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While abortion may still be illegal after six weeks in Georgia, this ruling is also not the end of the story when it comes to the state's abortion ban.

The Supreme court's decision sends the case back to lower courts

Protesters marching against Georgia's abortion law on July 23, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Protesters marching against Georgia's abortion law on July 23, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.  © Megan Varner / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Georgia's Supreme Court decision sends the case back to the lower courts – and Judge McBurney – to consider other challenges filed by abortion advocates. They are also arguing that the ban violates Georgia residents’ rights to privacy.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has vowed to continue fighting. The organization said in a news release that the Supreme Court's opinion disregards "long-standing precedent that a law violating either the state or federal Constitution at the time of its enactment is void from the start under the Georgia Constitution."

Governor Kemp celebrated Tuesday’s ruling and said in a statement, "Today’s victory represents one more step towards ending this litigation and ensuring the lives of Georgians of all ages are protected."

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"Today’s ruling is not the end of this fight for women’s healthcare," Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, said in a statement.

The director of the ACLU of Georgia continued: "Be clear, the right to abortion is on the ballot in 2024. Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia legislature acted to take away our rights. The Georgia legislature can restore our rights and we must organize to elect a pro-choice legislature."

Cover photo: 123rf/phartisan

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