Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Georgia's 2019 abortion law void on Tuesday because two major sections of the bill were "plainly unconstitutional when drafted."
"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 … Such bans were banned," McBurney wrote. "[The statute] did not become the law of Georgia when it was enacted and it is not the law of Georgia now."
House Bill 481, known as the "Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act," went into effect Jan. 2020, and prohibited killing babies in the womb after heartbeat detection.
McBurney's ruling is "likely to be appealed," according to Politico:
The decision means that abortions will — for the first time since July — in most cases be allowed in Georgia, up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Pro-abortion advocates argued in a two-day trial in October that the 2019 law violates a woman's "right to privacy" and that "viability" is the point at which a baby's rights should
"Even if the court were to find that the state did have a compelling interest in protecting an embryo beginning just two weeks after a patient's last menstrual period, the grossly inadequate exceptions make clear that this sweeping ban is far from the least restrictive means [of doing so]," said Julia Kaye, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project staff attorney.
Georgia's Solicitor General Stephen Petrany argued in the trial that there is no "right to abortion under Georgia's constitution."
"There's nothing that even hints at a right to abortion under Georgia's constitution," Petrany said. "We want to protect that third party and, to us, that's really just the end of the case."