This morning, we learned that the Georgia Supreme Court released their ruling on case Sister Song v. State of Georgia, and have decided to allow the six week abortion ban to remain in effect, forcing birth upon Georgia residents. You can read a summary of the opinion HERE. We are frustrated, we are sad, but we remain determined and unwavering.
Georgia’s House Bill (H.B.) 481 took effect shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade abortion protections last year. Following its enactment, this forced birth bill has been involved in litigation with this opinion being the latest in what has been a lengthy battle. This is a dangerous law and will continue to cause harm to communities already marginalized. As Georgia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country, a rate even higher for Black birthing folks, the state’s concern should be toward making sure pregnant folks have all the resources they need, including abortion access.
Although these arguments did not prevail, this case will continue through the courts. It has been sent back to the trial court of Fulton County to determine whether this law violates the Georgia State Constitution. We will follow with updates as this continues, hopefully with safer and healthier outcomes.
To be clear, this ruling does not change the current law, it just allows it to stay in effect. A person seeking abortion care within the state can do so prior to six weeks, but that is often well before a person even knows they are pregnant. It is illegal to access abortion care at around six weeks OR when electrical activity is detected by ultrasound in the uterus. This forces many Georgians to seek care outside of the state, a trying and sometimes impossible task.
SPARK remains dedicated to expanded abortion access and abortion justice for all Georgians and will continue to fight.
We know that this abortion ban and all other barriers to abortion services are the most harmful for our marginalized kin, especially those of us who are Black, brown, Indigenous, im/migrants, disabled, low-income, queer, and trans/gender-diverse.
If you have questions about your legal rights surrounding abortion, check out the If/When/How Repro Legal Helpline.
When the government fails to protect us, we protect each other.
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!