The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily reinstated the state’s near-total abortion ban after granting an emergency motion to stay a lower court order blocking the law.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Nov. 15 that the law, which banned almost all abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, was void because it was unconstitutional when it was passed in 2019. The state filed its appeal the next day.
The High Court’s stay is temporary pending a decision on the merits. The unilateral order makes almost all abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy illegal in Georgia.
The court also denied the abortion providers’ request for 24-hour notice before the ban is reinstated, the plaintiffs said in a statement.
“Today, patients are turned away in waiting rooms and forced to seek medical care elsewhere or to carry pregnancies against their will,” the plaintiffs said.
“The reintroduction of this extreme abortion ban will do immense harm, particularly to black Georgians and those with the least resources – who are unlikely to be able to travel abroad for care and are most likely to suffer severe medical consequences from forced pregnancy and childbirth. said Julia Kaye, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project.
Alice Wang, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said, “The legal ping-pong is causing havoc for medical providers trying to get their jobs done and for patients who are now desperate for the abortion services they need.”
McBurney had argued that at the time of its passage, the law under Roe v. Wade was illegal, and the reversal of that precedent in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization through the US Supreme Court made the provision illegal under Georgian law.
All judges agreed except Judge Nels SD Peterson who was disqualified and Judge Andrew A. Pinson who did not attend.
Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP, Caplan Cobb LLC, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Inc., American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia Inc., Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America are representing plaintiffs.
Planned Parenthood is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the nonprofit organization founded by Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg Law.
The case is Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective v. Georgia, Georgia, No. S23M0358, 11/23/22.