Jul 13, 2020 - Health

Federal judges block "heartbeat" abortion laws in Tennessee and Georgia

A pro-choice protest in Georgia

A pro abortion-rights protest in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 2019. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Two federal judges have blocked restrictive abortion laws from moving forward in Georgia and Tennessee, AP reports.

Why it matters: The laws were some of the most restrictive in the country. Both laws would have made abortions illegal once a heartbeat is detected, which happens around six weeks when most women don't even know they are pregnant.

In Georgia, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones struck down Georgia's 2019 "heartbeat" abortion law as unconstitutional.

  • Jones wrote: “HB 481 violates the constitutional right to privacy which, in turn, inflicts per se irreparable harm on plaintiffs.”

In Tennessee, U.S. District Judge William Campbell blocked the state's abortion law shortly after Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill on Monday.

  • The court also blocked the provision banning abortions based on race, sex or diagnosis of Down syndrome.
  • Some provisions from the law are still in place, but they do not further ban the procedure in Tennessee.
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