ACLU And Others Sue To Stop Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill” Law

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The ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood have sued the state of Georgia asking a judge to stop Georgia’s abortion bill from becoming law in January. The legislation, known as the “heartbeat bill,” was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp and would be one of the most restrictive in the nation.

The passage of HB 481 in May, following similar laws in other states including Missouri, Alabama and Arkansas, has caused a storm in the film and TV industries, which utilize Georgia’s lucrative tax credits on production. Some have called for boycotts of Georgia if the bill becomes law, while production continues on several projects.

According to the MPAA, the state is responsible for more than 92,100 film and TV production jobs and nearly $4.6 billion in total wages. State officials said that for the fiscal year ending June 30, the industry generated $2.7 billion in direct spending.

Abortion rights organizations had said they planned court challenges to the legislation, as they have done in other states (a similar suit was filed in Arkansas on Thursday). Opponents say the new laws are designed to push a case to the U.S. Supreme Court, targeting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Today’s filing seeks a preliminary injunction in advance of law’s effective date of January 1, as well a permanent injunction from enforcing the law. It says HB 481 violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Georgia bill would outlaw most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — usually as early as six weeks, which sometimes is before a woman knows she’s pregnant.

“This spring, Georgians came out in opposition to HB 481 like we’ve never seen before,” said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, after the suit was filed today in U.S. District Court in Atlanta naming Kemp and other elected state officials as defendants. “As an abortion provider, a reproductive rights advocate, and a litigator, Planned Parenthood vowed to fight this dangerous ban every step of the way. Today we take that next step. By filing this lawsuit, we are defending the rights of our patients and we are lifting up the voices of countless Georgians who were ignored this legislative session. Abortion is still safe, legal, and available in Georgia, and we plan to keep it that way.”

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