Commentary: Judge’s decision risks the lives of countless unborn babies

A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman Aug. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford, File)
A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman Aug. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford, File)

The ruling that overturned Georgia’s heartbeat law on Tuesday risks the lives of countless unborn babies whose best hope at this point is that the attorney general’s office prevails on appeal.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney declared the heartbeat law invalid because it was signed into law in 2019, at which time abortion was legal nationally under Roe v. Wade. The ruling now moves Georgia back to the standard of banning most abortions after 20-22 weeks according to the fetal pain law that was passed in 2012.

The American Civil Liberties Union had been seeking to have the law overturned primarily on the grounds that it violated the constitutional rights to privacy and liberty by forcing pregnancy and childbirth on women. However, McBurney didn’t rule on that claim.

He chose to rule on what I feel is the rather erroneous claim that the law is unconstitutional. The bottom line is that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the original Roe v. Wade decision to be unconstitutional because there has never been a national constitutional right to abortion!

Therefore, I don't think there was a truly constitutional reason to strike down the Heartbeat Law and send it to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals. But the 11th Circuit ruled on the basis that since the U.S. Supreme Court found Roe vs. Wade to be unconstitutional, the Heartbeat Law should go into effect.

Therefore, I also think that Governor Kemp’s statement is spot on: "Today's ruling places the personal beliefs of a judge over the will of the legislature and people of Georgia. The state has already filed a notice of appeal, and we will continue to fight for the lives of Georgia's unborn children.”

I believe that the work of Attorney General Chris Carr to appeal this decision to the Georgia Appeals Court means that it will go before Georgia’s Supreme Court and be overturned!

The lives of many precious children hang in the balance while we wait for this judge’s ruling to be overturned. Many of us have known from the outset of the Heartbeat Law that there was the potential of preventing up to 90-95% of abortions in Georgia.

We are already seeing statistics that have proven that this law has contributed to saving more than 2,500 lives. That equates to a 57% reduction in abortions in Georgia.

I close with the following quote from Suzanne Guy, a member of FBC Woodstock and the founder and leader of the LIV Group (Life Initiatives and Values), “Tragically, due to McBurney’s ruling, we are back to where we were pre-heartbeat law in terms of when you can have an abortion, but the good news is that, God willing, our Georgia Supreme Court will rule on the side of life.” 


Mike Griffin is the Public Affairs Representative of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.