What Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade means for Georgia heartbeat bill

ATLANTA — The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade. Under the ruling, the decision on abortions returns to the individual states on whether to ban or allow abortions.

Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the state of Georgia officially asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to reinstate the Georgia LIFE Act, better known as the Heartbeat Abortion Law.

“We have just filed a notice in the 11th Circuit requesting it reverse the District Court’s decision and allow Georgia’s Heartbeat Law to take effect,” said State Attorney General Chris Carr in a news release.

Governor Brian Kemp signed the Heartbeat Abortion Bill into law in 2019. It essentially bans abortion at six weeks. It also allows parents to claim unborn children/fetuses as dependents on their taxes, and allows mothers of unborn children/fetuses to collect child support from fathers.


Shortly after the law was signed, the ACLU of Georgia challenged it in federal court and won. A district court judge ruled the law was unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade. The state appealed to the 11th Circuit. A three judge panel stated during a virtual hearing last fall that it wanted to wait to see what the U.S. Supreme Court was going to do with an upcoming ruling in regards to Roe v. Wade before it made any decision.

Court observers believe that this ruling will mean the 11th Circuit will overrule the lower court judge and reinstate the Heartbeat Abortion Law.

“We will fight in the courts,” said ACLU of Georgia Director Angela Young. “We are not giving up. We’re going to continue the fight.”

[LIVE UPDATES: Ga. leaders reacting to Supreme Court’s landmark overruling of Roe v. Wade]

State Rep. Ed Setzler, a Kennesaw Republican, authored the Heartbeat Abortion Law. He believes the 11th Circuit will make a ruling soon.

“I think, in the Summer of 2022, the LIFE Act will be in full effect here in Georgia,” Setzler said.

Many political experts believe this ruling will have a major impact on the upcoming elections in Georgia. Democratic candidate for Governor, Stacey Abrams said the ruling is terrifying for women all across Georgia.

“If you are a woman in Georgia, you should be terrified right now,” Abrams said in a virtual news conference. “I am angry about this decision. I am appalled, and I am absolutely committed to pushing back.”

Gov. Kemp issued a statement saying, “today’s landmark decision is a victory for life. I look forward to its impact on the legal proceedings surrounding Georgia’s LIFE Act and hope our law will be fully implemented and ultimately protect countless unborn lives here in Georgia.”

Most court observers expect the 11th Circuit will take some kind of action in the coming few weeks.