On Wednesday, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the state’s fetal heartbeat law, which bans abortion after a medical provider can detect a baby’s heartbeat.
“In a one-page order, the high court put a lower court ruling overturning the ban on hold while it considers an appeal,” reports the Associated Press. “Abortion providers who had resumed performing the procedure past six weeks after the lower court ruling will again have to stop.”
The order said seven of the nine justices had agreed to the decision. It said one was disqualified and another did not participate.
The ruling is a temporary reinstatement of the provision, and attorneys for the state have yet to file the motion to permanently reinstate the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction.
The ruling came just over a week after a Fulton County Superior Court judge enjoined the abortion restriction on the technicality that the General Assembly passed the law in 2019, before the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Dobbs ruling, putting abortion laws in the hands of the individual states.
“At that time — the spring of 2019 — everywhere in America, including Georgia, it was unequivocally unconstitutional for governments — federal, state, or local — to ban abortions before viability,” McBurney wrote in his ruling on November 15.
McBurney’s ruling only blocked the fetal heartbeat portions of the law, leaving its other provisions intact.
“We are pleased with the Court’s action today,” said Kara Richardson, spokesperson for Attorney General Chris Carr. “However, we are unable to provide further comment due to the pending appeal.”
Gov. Brian Kemp’s office declined to comment because of the continuing litigation, but pro-life groups in Georgia were happy with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“Prior to Judge McBurney’s evil decision, abortions were down 52% across our state,” Frontline Policy Council’s Cole Muzio said in a statement. “Lives were being saved. Now, Heartbeat will once again take effect and result in the preservation of more human life.”
“This decision is a tremendous victory for life and will ensure that babies with beating hearts are safe in our state until the Georgia Supreme Court decides on pro-life Attorney General Chris Carr’s appeal to uphold the law in its entirety,” read an email from the Georgia Life Alliance.