Georgia Goes to Court to Defend Law Banning Abortions When Baby’s Heart Starts Beating

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 24, 2019   |   2:28PM   |   Atlanta, GA

Lawyers defended the new Georgia heartbeat law in court Monday against a legal challenge from billion-dollar abortion industry.

The AP reports U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones heard a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to block the state from enforcing the pro-life law until the case goes to trial.

The Georgia law bans abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. It allows exceptions for rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life. In addition, the law allows parents to claim unborn babies as dependents on their taxes and includes the unborn baby in census data. It also allows mothers to collect child support for pregnancy and delivery costs from the father prior to the baby’s birth.

State lawmakers expected a legal challenge when they passed the law earlier this year. They hope the case eventually will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and prompt the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Lawyers for the state told the court that the law is “constitutional and justified” in protecting unique, living human beings from death, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“Defendants deny all allegations in the complaint that killing a living unborn child constitutes ‘medical care’ or ‘health care,’” they argued.

But lawyers for the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other pro-abortion groups claimed the law is unconstitutional.

“This case is an open-and-shut case,” said Sean J. Young of the ACLU of Georgia. “While we cannot predict how the Supreme Court will rule, we can say every federal court has heard a challenge on such a ban and had it struck down.”

Jones said he will make a decision before Jan. 1, 2020, when the law is slated to go into effect, 11 Alive reports. Jones is a judicial appointee of pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

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Abortion advocacy groups claim they are fighting for the American people.

Polls suggest otherwise. In May, a Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive.

The findings are not unique. Gallup polls consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal. In 2018, 53 percent of respondents said abortions should be legal in only a few (35 percent) or no circumstances (18 percent).

“Common sense tells us if you look at a child in the womb with a beating heart and a distinct blood type, and you ask a preschooler, a small child, ‘What are you looking at?’ … They would look and say that’s a baby,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said when he signed the law in May.

The Republican governor promised to defend the law in court.

Recently, a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s new heartbeat bill. In January, a judge also declared Iowa’s heartbeat law unconstitutional. North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down their laws as well.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week abortion ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”

Ultimately, the decision rests with the U.S. Supreme Court. Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Others, however, are not so sure. The high court recently refused to hear several abortion cases, including an Indiana law that would have banned discriminatory abortions based on an unborn baby’s sex, race or disability. Because of the court’s decision, the laws remain blocked.

Additionally, when abortion activists succeed in their legal challenges, state taxpayers often are forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.