Judge Puts Abortion Law on Hold

Dec 26, 2012

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs

A Fulton County Superior Court judge has put a temporary block on a state law banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  The law is being halted while a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three obstetricians moves forward.

The law had been scheduled to take effect January 1, but Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs placed the law on hold last Friday shortly after a preliminary hearing.

In the order, Judge Downs said the ACLU showed “sufficient reason” to freeze the law for the time being. ACLU attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas says it’s a good first step.

“If this law had gone into effect, it would put women’s health, their lives in serious threat if they would be unable to get the care that they need. It would also force doctors to face criminal penalties.”

But those supporting the law say it will mean the loss of more innocent lives. Suzanne Ward is a spokesperson for Georgia Right to Life.

“Very reliable medical research has demonstrated time and time again that a 20 week old child suffers excruciating pain. I just don’t know understand how anyone can look themselves in the mirror and say that’s acceptable.”

Exceptions to the law include:  if the pregnancy is diagnosed as medically futile, if an abortion is needed to avert the death of a pregnant woman and to preserve the life of an unborn child. Attorneys for the state are expected to file their response to the lawsuit in February.