Updated Jul 26, 2022 - Health

Georgia health providers sue to challenge 6-week abortion ban

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Health care providers and abortion rights advocates are suing the state of Georgia to challenge a six-week abortion ban, which took effect last week.

Driving the news: The six-week ban had been blocked since 2019. Three weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a federal judge lifted the injunction of the law, allowing it to become enforceable immediately.

  • HB 481 bans most abortions once cardiac activity has been detected in an embryo — generally at about six weeks, which is before many people know that they are pregnant.

State of play: The providers in the case argue that the law violates Georgians' right to privacy.

  • Additionally, they argue that the law gives district attorneys the authority to access "the medical files of anyone who seeks an abortion, without a subpoena." This exposes "Georgians’ most intimate medical conditions and personal circumstances to state officials in bald defiance of the Georgia Constitution and Georgia Supreme Court precedent."
  • Plaintiffs are asking the court to block the law while the legal challenge proceeds.

What they're saying: "This abortion ban sends the disturbing message that Georgia is closed to women seeking equal opportunity and basic rights to make private decisions about their future," said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, one of the organizations that filed the lawsuit.

The other side: “We are currently reviewing this filing and we will uphold our constitutional duty, as we do with all lawsuits against the state,” a spokesperson for the office of Georgia's attorney general said in a statement to Axios.

Go deeper: What could be next in the legal fight for abortion in Georgia

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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