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Georgia Supreme Court reinstates abortion ban as appeal plays out

The court issued the order Wednesday

ATLANTA — The Georgia Supreme Court has temporarily reinstated the state's ban on abortions starting roughly at six weeks into a pregnancy.

The court blocked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney's overturn of the ban from taking effect as it considers an appeal.

Georgia's abortion ban was passed in 2019 and took effect in July after the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Under state law, most abortions were banned once "cardiac activity" is detected. There are some exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest. 

RELATED: 'It is not the law of Georgia now' | Judge overturns state's abortion ban

However, McBurney ruled the "heartbeat" provision of Georgia's ban was unconstitutional last week. The ban, he said, was unconstitutional when it was passed because of protections provided by Roe v. Wade. Therefore, it could never be a law under the legal principle of ab initio.

"Those provisions exist on paper only," McBurney said in his order overturning the ban. "They have never had legal effect in Georgia. They were and are void and must be re-enacted in our post-Roe world if they are to become the law of Georgia."

In their filing last week, attorneys for the state called McBurney's ruling "a wholly unsupported theory that has no basis in law, precedent, or common sense." 

"Prior judicial precedents, when they are overruled, are no law at all," the state said. "When the Supreme Court overruled Roe, 'the effect [was] not that the former decision was bad law, but that it was never the law.'"

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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