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Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

Georgia has a post-viability abortion restriction which, as narrowed by a court, makes the provision of certain post-viability abortion procedures a felony unless necessary to protect a woman's life or health.  A federal court has approved a consent order that limits enforcement of Georgia's unconstitutional ban on some procedures to apply only to post-viability abortion and to add exceptions to protect the woman's life and health. Midtown Hosp. v. Miller, 1:97-CV-1786-JOF (N.D. Ga. Sept. 3, 1998).  As written, Georgia's ban is unconstitutional and unenforceable.  The ban makes the provision of any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition a felony unless necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, and no other medical procedure will suffice.  Ga. Cod Ann. § 16-12-144 (Enacted 1997).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman's life and health.  NARAL Pro-Choice America does not oppose the court's consent order that restricts application of the law to the post-viability period and includes exceptions to protect a woman's life and health.

Georgia previously had a post-viability abortion restriction which stated that no abortion may be provided after the second trimester unless three physicians certify that it is necessary to preserve the woman's life or health.  Ga. Code Ann. § 16-12-141(c) (Enacted 1973).  This law was amended to ban abortion after 20 weeks with no health exception. (See Georgia's Abortion Bans entry). The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated an earlier version of Georgia's three-physician requirement, which then applied throughout pregnancy, on the grounds that "the requirement has no rational connection with a patient's needs and unduly infringes on the physician's right to practice."  Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 200 (1973).

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