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Judge overturns Georgia’s 6-week abortion ban

(ATLANTA) — A judge on Tuesday overturned Georgia’s six-week abortion ban, ruling that it is not constitutional.

The so-called “heartbeat bill” was signed into law in 2019 by Gov. Brian Kemp but was prevented from going into effect following legal challenges.

In July, three weeks after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, a federal appeals court ruled the ban could go into effect.

The law prevents abortions from performed once fetal cardiac activity can be defected, which typically occurs at about six weeks’ gestation — before many women know they’re pregnant — and redefines the word “person” in Georgia to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development.

Several groups — including the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Georgia, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective — filed a lawsuit arguing the ban violates the right to privacy without political inference protected under the Georgia Constitution.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney agreed and said it went against the law because the ban was signed before Roe was overturned.

“At that time — the spring of 2019 — everywhere in America, including Georgia, it was unequivocally unconstitutional for governments — federal, state, or local — to ban abortions before viability,” McBurney wrote, referring to the original passage of the 6-week ban.

ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett and Ben Stein contributed to this report.

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