The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that the state’s 6-week abortion ban will remain in effect for now. The ban means that abortions cannot be performed in Georgia any later than 6 weeks post conception. This ruling comes despite the fact that most states in the US have set the legal gestational age for abortion at 24 weeks.
The ruling was prompted by a suit brought before the court by an abortion rights group, who argued that the ban violated a woman’s right to have an abortion. The court disagreed, and in a 4-3 decision the majority held that the ban was constitutional.
Justice Keith Blackwell, writing the opinion for the majority, said that the court could find no compelling state interest in preventing women from obtaining abortions prior to the “viability” stage of pregnancy. He noted that viability is typically determined by medical experts to be between 24 and 28 weeks.
The minority opinion, written by Justice Carol Hunstein, sided with the abortion rights group. She argued that the ban was unconstitutional because it did not have exceptions for cases where the mother’s life or health was at risk. Justice Hunstein also noted that the ban did not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
The majority opinion also found that the state had a legitimate interest in protecting the “dignity and worth of unborn life” and that it had a right to pass laws to protect that interest.
For now, Georgia’s 6-week abortion ban stands. This ruling likely won’t be the last word on the matter, however. The Supreme Court’s decision is likely to be appealed and could be brought before the US Supreme Court. Whether or not this ban will remain in effect will depend on the outcome of those appeals.