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Fulton County judge stops enforcement of Georgia’s abortion ban

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Feminist Women’s Health Center Director Kwajelyn Jackson, whose group was among those who filed the lawsuit, said the facility is looking forward to again performing abortions for Georgians who are seeking them.

“We are relieved to hear the judge’s decision and are hopeful about our ability to provide compassionate abortion care for Georgians in a manner that they deserve,” she said.

A ruling from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July allowed Georgia’s 2019 abortion law to be enforced, stopping most abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many know they are pregnant.

The June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that guaranteed a nationwide right to abortion, paving the way for Georgia’s law to take effect.

Now that Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land, McBurney said, the Georgia General Assembly can reintroduce and work to pass a version of the 2019 law.

“Our state legislators are now, under Dobbs, free to move away from a post-viability ban in an effort to strike a different balance between the interests of fetal life and women’s bodily autonomy, should they conclude that that is what is best for Georgians,” McBurney wrote.

McBurney struck down sections of the 2019 law that limited when abortions could be performed and changed the reporting requirements for providers.

During a two-day trial last month, experts testifying on behalf of abortion rights advocates said carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term has more of a negative effect on a patient’s mental and physical health. Experts for the state said having an abortion had a greater negative effect on the mental and physical health of the mother.

McBurney denied an August request from abortion providers asking him to stop enforcement of the law while the case was ongoing.

The state had unsuccessfully tried to “cancel or delay” this week’s trial, saying, among other things, it was too close to the Nov. 8 election. Abortion is a hot topic on the campaign trail this fall.

Check back for updates to this article.

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