Roe v. Wade decision sets stage for Georgia’s Heartbeat Law

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The overturn of Roe v. Wade ultimately places the decision in the state’s hands when it comes to regulating abortion.

What are the implications of this decision for Georgia and the river region?

Here in Georgia, an Augusta University professor says we could see the implications before the day is out.

The Supreme Court has spoken, and they’ve decided it’s up to states to decide.

“If they want to ban it completely, if they want to have a six-week ban, if they want to have exceptions for rape, incest, the health of the mother, they get to completely decide what that looks like. The U.S. Constitution does not provide for this right,” said Dr. Mary-Kate Lizotte, AU political science professor.

In 2019, Governor Kemp signed the ‘Heartbeat Law’. It bans abortions at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat, which can be detected as early as six weeks before many women even know they’re pregnant.

The 11 circuits decided to wait for the Supreme Court to weigh in. Now it’s reality.

“In the state of Georgia, the six-week ban will go into effect pretty much immediately, because there had been previously an injunction preventing it from going into effect. It will likely be the case that in the next legislative session, they will probably try to ban abortion entirely, and not even allow for the six weeks that they currently have,” said Lizotte.

Roe v. Wade held that under due process of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, it provides a fundamental right to privacy. Other cases that used the same precedent could find themselves on the chopping block.

“Birth control, same-sex marriage, sodomy laws, those are all going to be back on the table. Another issue has to do with the right to privacy. In the past has been interracial marriage. So that’s another one. Several court cases relied on that right to privacy from the birth control case in the 1960s. It’s not just abortion, it’s several other cases that are likely to possibly be overturned,” she said.

A monumental ruling with a cost for both sides.

“It’s a big win for pro-life activists or conservatives who identify as pro-life. It’s a big opportunity for them to see some that they’ve worked towards for about 50 years. If you are pro-choice, or if you are an individual who believes that abortion should be legal, at least under some circumstances, then this is going to take a very long time because even if Congress does pass a law, that could be challenged. The Supreme Court could decide that’s not constitutional,” said Lizotte.

In South Carolina, their six-week abortion ban is blocked by courts, but Governor Henry McMaster released in a statement that they will move forward in filing motions so that the Fetal Heartbeat Act will go into effect by the end of the day.

Copyright 2022 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.