A coalition of reproductive rights groups asked a federal court Tuesday to stop Georgia’s restrictive new anti-abortion law from taking effect during their legal challenge.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Georgia, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights are seeking a preliminary injunction to block the law ― set to kick in on Jan. 1, 2020 ― while their lawsuit challenging its constitutionality remains ongoing. The groups sued in Atlanta’s U.S. district court in June.
Georgia’s H.B. 481 passed in a wave of anti-abortion legislation that swept state legislatures earlier this year. It is one of the strictest anti-abortion laws to date, banning most abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy, a time when many people do not realize they are pregnant.
The law also grants “personhood status” to fetuses, a move that could have cascading legal implications like criminalizing miscarriages and abortions outside of incest or rape. Similar measures have failed to pass in other states.
“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional under nearly 50 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” said Sean J. Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia. “Politicians have no business telling women or a couple when to start or expand a family.”
Georgia, which has become home to a budding film industry, faced backlash earlier this year as dozens of celebrities urged production companies to leave the state in protest of the law. Some of Georgia’s district attorneys have vowed not to enforce it.
“We have great confidence that the Court will enjoin this unconstitutional law from ever taking effect,” the state’s House Minority Leader Robert Trammell (D) told HuffPost. “The fact remains, however, that the passage of this law should send a clear warning to all Georgians that the rights of women in Georgia are unsafe until a new governing majority is elected.”
Speaker of the House David Ralston (R) and Rep. Ed Setzler (R), who sponsored the bill, did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Georgia joined several other states this year in passing partial or near-total bans on abortion, including laws in Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri.
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