After Gov. Brian Kemp signs heartbeat bill, protracted legal battle expected to begin

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

The bill will ban abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy. Kemp’s office said the signing is at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- The heartbeat bill signed Tuesday morning by Gov. Brian Kemp is one of the most restrictive anti-abortion regulations in the country.

Now that it's law, and will go into effect in January, those who are against and those who support abortion rights are gearing up for a fight.

As Kemp signed the bill, pro-life protesters stood outside an Augusta clinic to let their voices be heard.

"With the sign here, as A Perferred Women's Health Center, there's nothing healthy that happens through murdering a child,” protester Steven Smith said.

Smith is pro-life, but that doesn’t mean he completely supports the heartbeat bill. It gives you until a heartbeat is detected to get an abortion, and it exempts cases involving rape, incest, and medical complications.

“What they’re really implying is it’s okay to murder some, while it’s not okay to murder others,” Smith said.

But others say the new law is unnecessary.

“It's my body, it's my choice and whether you're a female and you're pro-life or not, you cannot tell me at the end of the day what I can do with my body,” one who chose to remain anonymous said.

Now, lawsuits against the new law are expected to begin soon.

“Legally, the next steps are going to be to file suit against the state of Georgia and to seek an injunction from court,” attorney Titus Nichols said.

Nichols says the issues surrounding the law will make for a protracted legal battle.

“Even if a court does initially grant an injunction the other side can file an appeal, it'll go up to federal court and it'll go work its way through the federal courts until it reaches a point where the Supreme Court of the United States has to decide whether it's going to take up the case,” Nichols said.

On the other end of the spectrum, supporters hope it ends up in the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade as other states pass heartbeat bills, too.

"And now with the current composition of the Supreme Court, they believe they'll get a favorable ruling if not a total reversal of Roe v. Wade or at least chipping away at it substantially to the point these types of laws can be instituted all across the country,” Nichols said.

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