Demonstrators promise to challenge controversial 'Heartbeat Bill'

More than 100 demonstrators are rallying outside the State Capitol in response to Gov. Brian Kemp signing the “Heartbeat Bill” Tuesday morning. (Photo: Channel 2 Political Reporter Richard Elliot)

ATLANTA — Within minutes of Gov. Brian Kemp signing the controversial "heartbeat bill," protesters gathered outside the Capitol to voice their opposition to the new law that effectively bans most abortions in Georgia.

Andrea Young, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot that the new law is unconstitutional and that the ACLU will challenge it in court.

“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.

Kemp signed the bill in front of a room full of anti-abortion 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.

“I have one message for you, Gov. Kemp: We will see you, sir, in court,” Staci Fox, of Planned Parenthood, told the group of protesters outside the Capitol on Tuesday.


At the protest, demonstrators promised to make defeating heartbeat bill supporters at the polls their top priority.

“You are nervous to take this vote, and you should have been nervous because we are watching and we are coming for you and your seat,” Fox said.

Democratic lawmakers condemned the bill and the legislators who voted for it.

“This bill bans abortions at six weeks, before many women even know that they’re pregnant. It is an effective outlawing of abortion altogether,” state Rep. Renitta Shannon said.

Acworth lawmaker Ed Setzler, who wrote the bill, told Elliot after the signing ceremony that he thinks Georgians will accept the new law.

“I think the people of Georgia, once the shrill attacks of the opponents sort of fade into the background, I think the common sense of Georgians will kick in,” Setzler said.

The new law doesn’t go into effect until January 2020.

The ACLU said it plans to file its legal challenge by the end of the summer. Planned Parenthood said it will file one, as well.