Trial over Georgia’s restrictive abortion law to begin April 27
Georgia’s governor has said he will not push for a judge’s rejection of the state’s controversial abortion law.
Gov. Nathan Deal said on Twitter he would not “push that envelope.” A lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood is pending in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
The governor said people should be able to decide for themselves whether to have an abortion in Georgia and called it “a very personal decision.” He also said he was “optimistic” the courts would agree with his decision not to pursue an appeal.
“In the case of today’s decision, I am not willing to push that envelope,” Deal said in a statement Wednesday. “In the case of today’s decision, I am optimistic the federal courts will agree with my decision to preserve the people’s right to make this decision for themselves.”
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed a lawsuit on April 10, requesting that U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg reject the state’s “heartbeat” abortion ban, which requires abortions to be performed before a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The case is among the first in the nation to test the power of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision upholding abortion rights. Oral arguments are likely to take place in June in the Supreme Court case.
The U.S. Supreme Court already has dealt with a challenge to a Texas law forcing women to undergo an ultrasound to determine whether their pregnancies are viable. That law was struck down in June.
If the Supreme Court accepts the case, Georgia’s abortion law will be ruled unconstitutional on its face. But abortion rights advocates are hopeful that the court will rule in favor of abortion rights even if the plaintiffs are ultimately unsuccessful.
The state’s Republican-led Legislature passed the “heartbeat” abortion ban in a special session last week.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia said the governor never explained his reasons for not pursuing an appeal and said it was “untenable” to rule on the law without hearing more testimony.
Planned Parenthood President Cec