Trial over Georgia’s restrictive abortion law to begin
The U.S. Supreme Court is about to hear arguments related to a challenge to a Georgia law that places a gag order on health care providers and requires abortion patients to receive counseling before the procedure.
The court is considering three cases that challenge abortion laws in a handful of states, two of which center on issues of conscience and religious rights.
Abortion rights groups are urging the justices to rule against the abortion restrictions in those cases because, they say, they violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and religious freedom.
Georgia passed the law in April after the state Supreme Court found that the previous requirement that a physician perform an ultrasound before an abortion was unconstitutional, saying a woman’s rights outweighed the doctor’s rights.
A federal district court judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law in July. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has since said it wants to hear oral arguments out of concern that the Supreme Court will agree to expedite the cases instead of allowing any further delay.
The Supreme Court has not allowed a case to go to oral arguments since 1992, when it accepted an appeal filed by a woman and opposed abortion restrictions in Alabama. That case is among three to hear oral arguments starting Oct. 14.
Georgia’s abortion law came a year after the state legislature passed a “heartbeat” measure requiring that an abortion be performed within 30 days of a pregnancy’s detection. That law was struck down by the state Supreme Court in March and is now before the Supreme Court.
The court has already ruled on a number of abortion restrictions, including the requirements for counseling and the requirement for an ultrasound before an abortion. And it ruled in a major abortion case last year that the requirement to obtain a prescription before an abortion violated the Constitution’s protections for religious freedom.
On Monday, Georgia’s attorney general argued that the law that has been blocked, while still being “bad