The Georgia Supreme Court on Oct. 24 upheld the state’s Living Infants Fairness & Equality (LIFE) Act, which has saved thousands of babies from abortion.
Signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019, the LIFE Act, also called the Heartbeat Bill, bans most abortions after about six weeks—when an unborn baby usually has a detectable heartbeat. The law allows abortions in some cases of rape or incest, or to save the mother’s life.
In a 6-1 decision, the state’s high court reversed Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney’s ruling last November that the ban was “unequivocally unconstitutional” since it was enacted before Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Pro-abortion groups like SisterSong and Planned Parenthood had questioned the Heartbeat Law’s validity, claiming the bill interfered with both the U.S. Constitution and Georgia’s Constitution.
“When the United States Supreme Court overrules its own precedent interpreting the United States Constitution, we are then obligated to apply the Court’s new interpretation of the Constitution’s meaning on matters of federal constitutional law,” wrote Justice Verda Colvin about the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision.
The law is in effect during litigation, which is still unfinished. Georgia’s Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court, asking McBurney to review other arguments in the lawsuit, such as its violation of Georgians’ right to privacy.
“Today’s victory represents one more step towards ending this litigation and ensuring the lives of Georgians at all ages are protected,” Kemp said in a statement.
According to Society of Family Planning’s #WeCount Report, there has been a near 50% decrease in Georgia abortions since the Dobbs decision, with the average monthly number of abortions dropping from 4,235 in April and May 2022 to 2,558 in July through December.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser shared her agreement with the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling.
“Today’s Georgia Supreme Court decision ensures that tens of thousands of children with beating hearts will continue to be protected from brutal abortions. It is the latest vindication of the will of Georgians, who have compassion for both babies and mothers, along with lawmakers like Governor Kemp and many others who heard them and acted,” Dannenfelser said.
“Twenty-five states—half the country—have pro-life protections in their law in the new Dobbs era. The majority of these states protect unborn children at least when their heartbeat can be detected, a point when science shows they have more than a 90% chance of surviving to birth,” she continued.
“We congratulate Governor Kemp, Attorney General Carr, all our local allies, and the people of Georgia on a long and well-fought battle. Life is winning in hearts and minds nationwide. When you lead and stand boldly for life, Americans will stand with you.”