A federal appeals court ruled today that Georgia will become the next state to ban aboritons. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state’s heartbeat law can go into effect, saving babies with beating hearts from abortions.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Georgia officials asked a federal court to remove the injunction against its Heartbeat Law, which bans abortions after 6 weeks — when an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected.
Today, the federal appeals court has ruled that the heartbeat law can take effect and it ordered U.S. District Judge Steve Jones to retake the case and overturn his decision from 2020 that blocked the law from saving babies. Jones is expected to hold a hearing soon on the matter, but the new abortion ban will not go into effect until his decision is official following that hearing.
In a 16-page decision, U.S. Circuit Judge William Pryor wrote on behalf of the panel that preserving unborn life “at all stages of development” is “categorically a legitimate state interest.”
“Georgia’s prohibition on abortions after detectable human heartbeat is rational. ‘[R]espect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development’ is a legitimate interest. The Georgia Legislature’s findings acknowledge a state interest in “providing full legal recognition to an unborn child.’ That ‘legitimate interest provide[s] a rational basis for’ and ‘justif[ies]’ the Act,” wrote Pryor, a George W. Bush appointee, quoting the LIFE Act and the Dobbs decision. .
The pro-life law only allows abortions in very rare cases after the baby’s heart has begun beating: rape, incest, if the life of the woman is in danger or in instances of “medical futility,” when the baby would not be able to survive after birth. A police report is required in order to obtain a later abortion if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest.
As the Atlanta newspaper reports, “Georgia’s new law is different from other states’ “heartbeat” statutes because it includes so-called personhood provisions, where rights are extended to an embryo once fetal cardiac activity can be detected. Parents would be able to claim a fetus, once a heartbeat is detected, on their state income taxes as a dependent, and the measure would also require state officials to count an unborn child toward Georgia’s population. Mothers can also file for child support once cardiac activity is detected.”
Officials with Georgia Life Alliance told LifeNews they were delighted by the news.
“As we have been predicting for weeks now, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill in light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade,” it said. “In Georgia law now, babies are considered “people” and most abortion is illegal after the heartbeat is detected.”
“Many believed this day would never come, but thanks to the faith of God’s people and the courage of pro-life elected officials like Rep. Ed Setzler, Senator Renee Unterman, Senator Bruce Thompson, Governor Brian Kemp, and Attorney General Chris Carr, life WINS in Georgia,” it added. “We are proud to have led the fight to pass this law by writing the first draft and creating a statewide coalition of pro-life supporters to work alongside pro-life lawmakers to ensure it’s passage. Georgia is now the first state in the nation to recognize the personhood of preborn babies, making our Heartbeat Bill the strongest pro-life law in the nation.”
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One Georgia abortion business has already closed since the Supreme Court ruled. A Savannah, Georgia abortion facility that has been aborting unborn babies for more than 40 years closed for good late last month.
GPB News reports the Savannah Medical Clinic saw its last patient Friday. The facility opened in 1977 and did surgical abortions into the second trimester, according to the report.
A message on the abortion facility website also announced that it has closed forever.
“After 40 years of serving Coastal Georgia in providing abortion services, Savannah Medical Clinic is sad to announce we have closed our office and are no longer taking appointments,” the website states.
In 2020, 31,248 unborn babies were aborted in Georgia, according to state health department data. More than 60 percent were aborted after six weeks of pregnancy, meaning the heartbeat law would save tens of thousands of babies’ lives every year.
As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.
Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.
Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. This week, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th,Texas became the 12th with its pre-Roe law and Tennessee became the 13th.
Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.
Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
This is a landmark day for the Pro-Life movement and our entire nation. After staining the moral fabric of our country for nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade is no more.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.
Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75% of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.