The Georgia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday to block the state’s stricter abortion law from taking effect Jan. 1.
The law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks with exceptions for specific threats to the mother’s health. But the lawsuit contends the exceptions are narrow and “doctors treating women in accordance to the best medical judgment” could face prison.
Anti-abortion forces welcomed the lawsuit because they said it will help their efforts to reverse the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal across the land.
“We would welcome a (court) challenge simply because this provides the opportunity to place additional restrictions on abortion. It would be a challenge to Roe v. Wade,” said Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life.
The lawsuit — along with a motion for an injunction to stop the law from taking effect until the case is heard — was filed on behalf of three doctors. The suit, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, says doctors would have to make “an untenable choice: to face criminal prosecution and up to 10 years imprisonment, as well as disciplinary and licensing sanctions” for providing the care their patients seek.
The law, passed on the final day of last year’s legislative session, includes a few exceptions for an abortion past 20 weeks — the mother could die, she would suffer an “irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function” or the fetus has a congenital or chromosomal anomaly that means almost certain death after birth.
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