Trial surrounding Georgia’s abortion law enters day 2 of testimony

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 12:49 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Exceptions to Georgia’s strict new abortion law took center stage on the second, and likely the final day of a two-day bench trial in which a Fulton County judge will ultimately decide whether to block the law from being enforced.

SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and other Georgia advocacy groups and abortion providers, with the assistance of attorneys with the ACLU, sued the state, saying the new law violates a woman’s right to privacy under the Georgia Constitution.

On the stand Tuesday morning was Dr. Martina Badell, an OBGYN and an expert in maternal-fetal medicine at Emory University Hospital. She testified that since Georgia’s new law went into effect prohibiting most abortions after the fetal cardiac activity is detected in the womb – which is roughly the sixth week of pregnancy – she no longer provides abortions in cases where the pregnancy is risky to the woman’s health or in cases when a woman might wish to reduce the number of fetuses she’s carrying to improve the chances of the others surviving.

Badell said she and many of her colleagues are confused over the language in the bill, causing them to worry they could get arrested and lose their medical license if they perform an abortion that someone else might consider to be unnecessary.

“It is heartbreaking to tell someone if they come to the conclusion that that’s the right thing for their family, that I have to say, ‘I wish you the best and good luck. I hope you have the resources and the wherewithal to navigate getting the care that you desire,’” she said.

On cross-examination, Ed Trent, an attorney representing the state of Georgia, asked Badell about the fetal cardiac activity that starts pumping blood through a fetus’s body at roughly the sixth week of pregnancy.

“This heart that starts beating at this time, that’s the same heart that’s going to beat in this child until the day it dies even if that’s in old age?” he asked.

“Yes,” Badell replied.

Trent asked Badell if, as a physician, she wants the best outcome for the mother and child. When she agreed, he asked, “And would you agree that abortion is a bad outcome for the child?”

“The abortion is performed on a pregnancy when a woman decides that’s the best decision for her body,” Badell replied.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said he will not announce his decision this week. The losing side will most certainly appeal.

Watch day 2 of the trial:

WATCH LIVE: Testimony resumes in Georgia's heartbeat abortion law trial

WATCH LIVE: Testimony resumes in Georgia's heartbeat abortion law trial

Posted by Atlanta News First on Tuesday, October 25, 2022