ACLU Sues to Block Georgia 20-Week Abortion Ban


On Friday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued to block Georgia’s pre-viability abortion ban that is set to take effect January 1, 2013.

The suit, filed on behalf of three obstetricians in the state whose patients are in need of medical treatment contends that the law, which criminalizes nearly all abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy and contains only narrow exceptions for specific threats to the mothers health, will force a physician caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to wait for her condition to deteriorate to the point she is in a medical emergency before they could offer abortion care to protect her health.

“Politicians should have no say in a woman’s most private medical decisions,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project in a statement. “A woman should have the peace of mind of knowing that no matter what unanticipated problems arise during pregnancy, she’ll be able to make the best decision for herself and her family.”

Unlike some other recent legal challenges to abortion restrictions, this lawsuit was brought in state rather than federal court. That’s because in some instances state Constitutions offer more explicit privacy protections than federal law and because federal courts seem increasingly willing to regulate abortion rights out of existence. It remains to be seen if that is the case in Georgia.

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