Court weighs constitutionality of state abortion ban

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 31, 2012

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A judge heard arguments Dec. 20 over whether a Georgia law banning pre-viability abortions is unconstitutional and should be blocked.

The law, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, prohibits abortions after 20 weeks except when a woman’s life is threatened. Physicians who provide abortion care in violation of the act face fines, imprisonment and loss of their medical licenses. The law does not include exceptions for women who become pregnant due to rape or incest.

On Nov. 30, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed a lawsuit on behalf of three obstetrician-gynecologists who treat high-risk pregnancies. The doctors said the law puts patients’ health at risk and prevents physicians from exercising their best medical judgment. The plaintiffs are asking the Superior Court of Fulton County in Georgia to block the measure.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement that the law provides humane protection to “innocents capable of feeling pain, while making an important exception for in the case of medically futile pregnancies.”

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