ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp has signed the controversial anti-abortion "heartbeat bill" into law this morning, a move that will set in motion a drawn-out legal battle that the Republican and other supporters hope lands in the U.S. Supreme Court.
That law bans abortions in Georgia at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat, essentially six weeks into a pregnancy.
Protests at the Capitol started within minutes of the governor signing the bill into law. Opponents believe the law is an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade and promise a legal fight.
Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot spent the day Tuesday at the Capitol getting every angle of this story.
Kemp signed the bill in front of a room full of pro-life supporters.
He acknowledged that a legal fight is coming but insisted he believed signing the bill was the right thing to do.
“I realize that some may challenge it in a court of law, but our job is to do what is right, not what is easy,” Kemp said. “We’re called to be strong and courageous. We will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.”
On top of the limitations to abortions, the bill also grants the unborn child or fetus citizenship and allows mothers to collect child support before birth.
ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young told Elliot that they plan to file a lawsuit.
“We are going assiduously through all the implications of the bill. It’s unconstitutional on its face. It’s a violation of Roe v. Wade, but we want to make sure in our comprehensive legal filings we’re addressing all the problems,” Young said.
The bill’s author, Acworth lawmaker Ed Setzler told Elliot that he thinks the bill will survive a legal challenge and hinted it could begin the effort to overturning Roe v. Wade.
“I don’t want to predict what the courts will do, but I can tell you, if it does make it to the Supreme Court, this bill lays the legal foundation that we would want,” Setzler said.
This bill will go into effect in January 2020.
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