ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Eleventh Circuit says Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion law should be allowed to take effect and that its fetal personhood language is “not vague on its face.”
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Wednesday, that will allow Georgia’s H.B. 481 to take effect later this summer, which bans abortion at approximately six weeks of pregnancy, before many people even know they’re pregnant, and redefining “person” throughout Georgia law to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development.
The abortion ban will impact miscarriage management, threatening physicians with criminal penalties if they provide medically appropriate care for an in-progress miscarriage unless their patient’s health has already deteriorated to the point of a medical emergency.
According to the press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights, the six-week abortion ban, passed in 2019, was previously blocked by a district court ruling that found it unconstitutional, but the 11th Circuit reversed that decision today in light of the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. In its decision, the 11th Circuit also vacated the lower court’s order blocking a provision of H.B. 481 that defines embryos and fetuses at any stage of development as “persons” throughout Georgia law but permitted plaintiffs to return to the district court and raise further constitutional challenges to specific Georgia statutes amended by the redefinition of personhood.
Current abortion laws are still in place until federal judge officially rules.