This past Tuesday, one judge in Georgia officially overturned a state law that put in place a ban on abortions of unborn children showing a heartbeat as soon as six weeks of gestation.
Robert McBurney, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge, went along with the Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, stating a few specific provisions unconstitutional in the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act,” which would effectively criminalize abortion taking place at any point in the wake of an unborn child showing a detectable heartbeat typically as early as week 5 of pregnancy.
Originally signed back in 2019 by Gov. Brian Kemp, the law was first blocked within a district county by a ruling made last summer directly after the Supreme Court chose to overturn Roe v. Wade, which Justice Samuel Alito called “egregiously wrong from the start.”
McBurney explained within his 15-page ruling that the bill was signed by legislators, “everywhere in America, including Georgia, it was unequivocally unconstitutional for governments — federal, state, or local — to ban abortions before viability,” going further state that state law “did not become the law of Georgia when it was enacted, and it is not the law of Georgia now.”
“What does this ruling mean?” explained McBurney. “Most fundamentally, it means that courts — not legislatures — define the law,” going further to say that “if the courts have spoken, clearly and directly, as to what the law is, as to what is and is not constitutional, legislatures and legislators are not at liberty to pass laws contrary to such pronouncements.”
A report from Life News stated that state attorneys made the argument that the judge should see the abortion ban through the lens of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling since Roe v. Wade no longer applies.
One spokesperson for Gov. Kemp, Andrew Isenhour, expressed to The Associated Press via a release that the ruling from the judge placed “the personal beliefs of a judge over the will of the legislature and people of Georgia.”
“The state has already filed a notice of appeal, and we will continue to fight for the lives of Georgia’s unborn children,” expressed Isenhour.
A spokeswoman for the attorney general of Georgia, Kara Richardson, explained to Axios that the officials for the state would “pursue an immediate appeal and will continue to fulfill our duty to defend the laws of our state in court.”
The vice president of communications for pro-life non-profit organization Live Action, Noah Brant, spoke up against the ruling from the judge, stating that the Georgia LIFE act was entirely constitutional.
“The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade through their decision in Dobbs, and therefore, state lawmakers have the constitutional prerogative to completely abolish the horrific scandal of abortion,” stated Brandt. “This judge is clearly wrong, and I suspect the ruling will be swiftly corrected by a higher court.”