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No decision yet in emergency motion against Georgia abortion law

Judge Robert C. I. McBurney is taking the time to look over arguments before issuing an order.

ATLANTA — A hearing was held Monday in Fulton County for an emergency motion on a lawsuit that, at least initially, seeks to temporarily halt Georgia's six-week "heartbeat" abortion law.

The ACLU, one of the nation's largest civil rights organizations, and a group of doctors filed the lawsuit in July. They argue that the Georgia abortion law violates the state constitution.

Georgia's law was long halted by a federal judge, citing the now-reversed Roe v. Wade precedent. After the Supreme Court overruled Roe, the federal courts allowed the Georgia law to take effect.

The new lawsuit filed in Fulton County argues Georgia's state constitution provides the kind of right to privacy that the original Roe decision was grounded in.

The hearing got underway at 4 p.m. but was interrupted by people screaming profane language via the hearing's Zoom link. It was temporarily paused before getting back underway.

Judge Robert C. I. McBurney, who is overseeing the hearing, is taking the time to look over arguments before issuing an order. A second hearing could be scheduled if needed after hearing further argument.

Several plaintiffs focused on the six-week ban itself, but a lot of stipulations were written inside of it. 

11Alive spoke with Constitutional Attorney Andrew Beal to break down those stipulations. 

"Everybody is looking at the major issue here, but I think it's the minor or technical issues that are going to really carry the day," he said. "There are certain technical problems with the new Georgia statue, which may well bar it from being enforced in Georgia. And it's not the six-week ban." 

Beal said the law could fail on four things: 

  • The District Attorney has access to medical records.
  • The law makes no exceptions for mental health issues. 
  • In cases of rape or incest, a woman must report what happened to police before seeking an abortion. 
  • Doctors must certify medical records to D.A.

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