Today the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a challenge to Georgia’s 20-week fetal pain abortion bill that had kept the 2012 law passed by the Georgia General Assembly from being enforced for the last five years.
The fetal pain bill, so named because an unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks, made most abortions after 20-weeks illegal. During the lawsuit that lasted for the last five years, enforcement of this law has been on hold; but with the decision today, the law banning abortions after a fetus can feel pain is now the law of Georgia.
Here’s more on the victory against the ACLU lawsuit against the law:
In a unanimous opinion published Monday, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell wrote that the principle of sovereign immunity bars the courts from considering lawsuits against the state.
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Sovereign immunity shields the state and state agencies from being sued in their official capacity unless the General Assembly waives that protection.
But Blackwell added, “we recognize the availability of other means by which aggrieved citizens may obtain prospective relief from threatened enforcement of unconstitutional laws.”
Responding to the victory, 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.” The 20-week ban makes it a felony for a doctor to abort a fetus after 20 weeks.
She told LifeNews the court dismissed the case on grounds of sovereign immunity stating that the Georgia Constitution bans lawsuits against the state except in cases where the state decides to waive that immunity. In doing so, the Georgia Supreme Court avoided any decisions one way or the other about the constitutionality of the 20-week ban and the Court expressly noted other legal avenues that the plaintiffs could challenge the law’s constitutionality.
“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,” said Zolfaghari. “Still we rejoice that the protection of human life grew just a little stronger today. Every single life has value.”