ATLANTA – The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion Friday, heralding a new era for dealing with a controversial issue that has split the nation for decades.
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion,” Associate Justice Samuel Alito stated in the 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
States will now be able to decide how they want to handle abortion without any federal guardrails.
“The authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and its elected representatives,” the decision states.
In Georgia, it is likely the state will move to put into effect the “heartbeat law” Gov. Brian Kemp pushed through the General Assembly.
Passed in 2019, it prohibits most abortions after the detection of a fetal “heartbeat,” typically around the sixth week of a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.
A U.S. District Court ruling in 2020 deemed the Georgia law unconstitutional, putting it on hold.
The state appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court said it would hold off on a decision until the Supreme Court ruled definitively in the Dobbs case.
“The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will likely soon take action to ultimately put Georgia’s six-week abortion ban into effect,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia said.
Georgians from across the political spectrum reacted quickly to the ruling.
“As a Georgian and a mother, I am most concerned with the impact this decision will have on the women and girls in this state,” said state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, who is running for attorney general. She pointed out that Georgia has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country.
“The basic right of having control over one’s own body will now wholly depend on the action of leaders that we elect at the state level,” Jordan said. “Our fundamental rights are on the ballot this November.”
Republicans, on the other hand, cheered the ruling.
“Today’s landmark ruling is a historic victory for life,” said Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. “I look forward to its impact on the legal proceedings surrounding our historic LIFE Act, and hope our law will be fully implemented and ultimately protect countless unborn lives here in the Peach State.”
“The Supreme Court decision sends the issue of abortion back to the states where it belongs,” said Herschel Walker, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.
“I won’t apologize for erring on the side of life, especially considering the radical abortion views held by Senator Warnock and today’s Democrat Party,” Walker added. “I stand for life.”
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.