Heartbeat Bill Opponents Ask Court To Block New Abortion Law
ATLANTA — Another battleground was opened Tuesday in the war over Georgia’s new abortion bill. On behalf of several abortion providers, the American Civil Liberties Union is asking a judge to stop the so-called Heartbeat Bill from going into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, while another ACLU lawsuit challenging the bill’s constitutionality makes its way through court.
The bill, authored by a suburban Atlanta Republican lawmaker, outlaws most abortions after about six weeks, which is when a fetal heartbeat is usually first detected. It would allow abortions in cases where the mother’s life or health is in danger, or in cases of medical emergency. It also says an unborn child at any stage of development in the womb would be included in state population-based counts.
Gov. Brian Kemp, who supported the bill during his successful gubernatorial campaign last year, signed the bill a few weeks after the General Assembly adjourned.
Numerous Hollywood celebrities and entertainment industry leaders continue to protest the bill, threatening to leave Georgia, one of the world’s top film production centers, should the law go into effect next year.
Georgia is the fourth state to pass such a measure, joining Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio. More than 250 bills restricting abortions have been filed in 41 states this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research and advocacy group.
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Read more: ‘Heartbeat Bills’ Give Lawmakers Pause On Anti-Abortion Tactics
In anticipation of a new anti-abortion tilt on the Supreme Court bench, some states are moving to further restrict the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy or to outlaw abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade ever falls. But the rush to regulate has exposed division among groups and lawmakers who consider themselves staunch abortion opponents.
“After the appointment of Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh, there really is just an environment in state legislatures to roll back abortion rights. And so we’re seeing these bans just fly through,” said Elizabeth Nash, who monitors state laws at Guttmacher.
But the speed of passage of some of these laws masks divisions about strategy and commitment to the cause within the anti-abortion movement.
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