Judge denies state’s request to delay trial over Georgia’s heartbeat abortion law

ATLANTA — A Superior Court judge has ruled that there is no need to delay the upcoming trial over the state’s heartbeat abortion law.

The law says it is illegal to have an abortion or to provide one after six weeks of pregnancy in most cases.

Gov. Brian Kemp originally signed H.B. 481 into law in 2019. The ACLU challenged it almost immediately and won.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and returned decisions on the legality of abortions back to the states.

In early August, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law was constitutional and ordered a lower court to reinstate it.

Georgia abortion providers and advocates then filed a lawsuit challenging the ban in Fulton County Superior Court, arguing the ban was void from the start because it violates federal constitutional precedent and because of Georgia’s right-to-privacy laws.


Advocates also asked for a temporary injunction against the law until the case could go to trial, but the judge later denied that request.

The state has since asked the judge to either cancel or delay the trial, but that motion was denied on Wednesday.

“The State has offered four reasons for this ‘cancellation,’ which can be summarized as ‘We are really busy with other things,’ ‘There are no facts in dispute,’ ‘We don’t know what facts are in dispute,’ and ‘You can’t do what you are trying to do.’ The Court’s response, detailed below, can be summarized as ‘Who isn’t?,’ ‘There are,’ ‘You do,’ and ‘I can,’” the judge’s ruling said. “The Court finds that this schedule is both workable and reasonable, given the skill, knowledge, and resources already deployed and available to both sides.”

As of right now, the case is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 24.

Several metro Atlanta district attorneys have told Channel 2 Action News that they will not prosecute women and doctors involved with abortion procedures.

District attorneys in DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Douglas, Clarke and Oconee counties have made similar pledges. Between those six counties, that’s nearly a third of all Georgians who would be exempt.