ATLANTA – Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion law will stay in effect while a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law is pending, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Monday.
The order represents a setback for pro-abortion rights advocates who had argued the judge should immediately block the law while their case against it was pending.
The Georgia law bans most abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy.
Though Georgia’s law was initially adopted in 2019, pro-abortion rights groups challenged it in federal court and prevented the law from taking effect until this year.
A federal appeals court put Georgia’s law into immediate effect last month, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the way by overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.
McBurney declined to block the law Monday, stating that “the court is dismissing the motion not on its merits but because the court lacks jurisdiction to consider its merits.”
He made clear the case will continue to examine the constitutionality of the abortion law.