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Judge allows Georgia to enforce its new heartbeat law

by | Aug 16, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

With the caveat that he has yet to determine the constitutionality of Georgia’s new heartbeat law, Judge Robert McBurney on Monday ruled that the state can enforce its new abortion law while the challenge filed by the ACLU makes its way through the courts.

“Three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the court lifted the law’s injunction,” CBS 46 reported. “The court also allowed the law to go into effect immediately.”

The station went on to report that “Abortion providers and advocates filed a new state constitutional challenge one week later and asked the court to immediately block the ban while the lawsuit proceeds, which led to Monday’s ruling.” 

This is the route other states have taken. Once Roe was overturned, they switched gears to argue there is a right to abortion in their state constitution.

“In his order, McBurney dismissed the request for a temporary restraining order, saying state law only allows him to block a law from being enforced if he has already ruled that the statute is unconstitutional,” according to Maya T. Prabhu of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

“McBurney has been asked to determine the constitutionality of the law. He has not yet ruled on the issue.”

However, Judge McBurney’s sympathies were hard to miss:

The question of whether it is constitutional for the State to force a woman to carry to term a six-week-old embryo against her wishes, even in the face of serious medical risk, remains to be answered. Until it is, however, the LIFE Act remains in effect.

When the ACLU filed its challenge, Martha Zoller, Executive Director, Georgia Life Alliance, was highly critical. “Their intent is for the State court system to invent a right to abortion under the Georgia Constitution since the Federal courts have affirmed there is NO right to abortion under the U.S. Constitution,” she said.

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