Georgia Fights in Court to Defend Ban on Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 12, 2020   |   10:48AM   |   Atlanta, GA

Georgia Republican leaders are fighting in court to defend a state pro-life law that bans abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable.

The 2019 heartbeat law currently is blocked by a court order, but Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration is appealing to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Bloomberg Law reports.

According to the report, more than half of the judges on the 11th Circuit were appointed by President Donald Trump.

The state law bans abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. State lawmakers expected a legal challenge when they passed the law in 2019. They hope the case eventually will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and prompt the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In July, a federal judge nominated by President Barack Obama overturned the pro-life law after a legal challenge from the billion-dollar abortion industry.

Lawyers for the state told the judge 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.

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

The abortion advocacy groups also claimed they are fighting for the American people, but polls suggest otherwise. A 2019 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,” Kemp said when he signed the law in 2019.

The Georgia pro-life law 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 unborn babies 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.