Georgia Supreme Court upholds ban on abortions after 20 weeks
By Kevin Payne
This week the Georgia Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a state law, passed five years ago that bans abortions after 20 weeks. Pro-life groups say the ruling means that the ban can finally move forward.
Life News reports that the ACLU challenged the fetal pain abortion bill in 2012, preventing the law from being enforced. This week’s decision means that it will now be illegal for doctors to perform abortions after 20 weeks; violating the law will be a felony.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued to stop enforcement of the law on behalf of three obstetricians, saying that the statute violates privacy protections that are guaranteed in the state Constitution. The lawsuit states that the exceptions are too narrow and that doctors could face prison when treating patients in accordance to the patient’s best interest.
The lawsuit was filed against Gov. Nathan Deal and other stated officials in their official capacity. However, the concept of sovereign immunity shields the state and its agencies from being sued in their official capacity unless the General Assembly waives that protection.
Camila Zolfaghari, executive director of Georgia Life Alliance said, “This is a victory for human life and human dignity. No child should have to feel the pain of being ripped apart, limb by limb in an abortion.”
She went on to say, “We understand that life has triumphed today, but we still have a long way to go before every life, born and unborn, is fully valued and protected. Still, we rejoice that the protection of human life grew just a little stronger today. Every single life has value.”
However, the ruling did leave the door open for additional legal challenges if opponents file those objections in a different way. The Georgia Chapter of the ACLU says that it’s not giving up.
“Our position is that the 20-week ban is unconstitutional and is depriving women of their Constitutional right to healthcare,” said Andrea Young from the Georgia ACLU.
For now, the issue of abortion is not solved. While the Georgia Alliance for Life wants the ban enforced, the Georgia ACLU says that it is considering new legal options.