A federal appeals court in Georgia has ruled that the state’s near-total ban on abortions can take effect immediately. The 2019 law outlaws abortions once fetal cardiac activity is present. It also changes the definition of a “natural person” to include fetuses or embryos that have formed in utero after just a few weeks, before many people even realize they’re pregnant. The law provides for limited exceptions for rape and incest, but a survivor must first file a police report. Another provision allows limited exceptions for medical emergencies.
In a joint statement, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood said, “This is a highly unorthodox action that will immediately push essential abortion care out of reach for patients beyond the earliest stages of pregnancy. Across the state, providers are now being forced to turn away patients who thought they would be able to access abortion, immediately changing the course of their lives and futures.”