November 15, 2022
CONTACT: MK Anderson, [email protected]eministcenter.org
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11.15.2022 (PRESS RELEASE) – The Superior Court of Fulton County today struck down Georgia’s ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, allowing health care providers in the state to once again provide essential abortion and miscarriage care to Georgians beyond the earliest weeks in pregnancy. Feminist Women’s Health Center intends to resume providing abortion care up to 22 weeks.
In the court order issued today, Judge Robert McBurney struck down the six-week abortion ban, declaring that the law was void from the start. The Georgia Constitution prohibits the legislature from passing laws that violate federal constitutional precedent, which the ban clearly did when enacted in 2019. Judge McBurney further ruled that a subsequent change in federal constitutional law, which happened with Dobbs, does not revive the ban. Instead, if the legislature wishes to ban abortion, it must pass a new law “in the sharp glare of public attention that will undoubtedly and properly attend such an important and consequential debate,” Judge McBurney wrote in his order.
“Today’s ruling is an enormous victory for our patients and our state,” said Kwajelyn Jackson, executive director of Feminist Women’s Health Center. “Our mission for the last nearly 50 years has been to provide our patients with access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including abortion. With today’s victory under our belts, we will be able to finally resume providing this essential health care to our community.”
During a trial held in October, health care providers and other experts testified that the abortion ban has had devastating consequences for Georgians’ health and lives. The ban forces Georgians seeking abortion after the earliest weeks of pregnancy to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles out of state for care, and that’s only if they can pull together the resources to do so. Georgians and other people seeking care in states where it’s still legal face long wait times for appointments. Many of those who cannot surmount the tremendous financial and logistical barriers of getting abortion care in other states are forced to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth against their will.
Evidence shows that being denied an abortion can have lasting health and financial consequences for people and their families, including elevated health risks during and after pregnancy; and derailed educational, career, and life plans. For some, the consequences of the ban can be deadly. Black Georgians face myriad barriers to accessing reproductive health care, including structural racism within the health care system. As a result, Black women in Georgia experience maternal mortality and pregnancy complications at a rate more than two times that of non-Hispanic white women.
This case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Georgia, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Georgia-based law firms Caplan Cobb and Bondurant Mixson & Elmore on behalf of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc., Atlanta Comprehensive Wellness Clinic, Atlanta Women’s Medical Center, FemHealth USA d/b/a carafem, Summit Medical Associates, P.C., Carrie Cwiak, M.D., M.P.H., Lisa Haddad, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., Eva Lathrop, M.D., M.P.H., and Medical Students for Choice.
Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC) is a reproductive health, rights, and justice organization. We provide direct services, education, advocacy, leadership development, and movement building with people across all axes of oppression so that we have the rights, resources, and respect to make empowered, informed decisions about our own bodies and health.