UGA professor explains what happens next after Georgia abortion ban has been overturned

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 5:17 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A University of Georgia political science professor says the reason the six-week abortion ban was blocked is because it was passed in 2019 before Roe V Wade was overturned meaning lawmakers could introduce another bill similar to HB 481 with the same exact wording down the line.

“If it should be passed again, then that law should not run into the kind of problem that was pointed out yesterday.”

Dr. Charles Bullock says the reason this law could be overturned unlike abortion bans in other states is because it wasn’t a trigger law. Those states wrote similar laws with the stipulation it would only go into effect if and when Roe V Wade was overturned.

However, Dr. Bullock says without that trigger, Georgia’s law directly conflicted with federal law making it unconstitutional.

If lawmakers were to draft up a similar bill banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected, he says the house would need 91 majority votes and the senate would need 29 to pass it.

He says when the heartbeat bill or HB 481 passed in 2019, it was by a very narrow majority. Making the future for women looking to get an abortion in Georgia uncertain.

“It barely passed in the house with only one or two votes to spare. There have, of course, been changes in the membership of the house so one possibility might even be that (they) might even be able to pass this legislation in today’s house since it differs in its composition from the house that did enact it four years ago.”

The Attorney General’s office says they plan to appeal the ruling to overturn the abortion ban. Dr. Bullock says that appeal would be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court and there’s no time line on how long that could take.