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Abortion Bans


Georgia outlaws abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.  Georgia amended its previous post-viability abortion ban to apply previability. The law now makes abortion after 20 weeks a criminal act, unless necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the woman or in the case of a medically futile pregnancy.  Ga. Code Ann. § 16-12-141(c) (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2012).

A judge has enjoined the state's 20-week abortion ban, temporarily blocking its enforcement. Lathrop v. Deal, Civil Action File No. 2012-cv-224423 (2012).

Georgia also has an unconstitutional and unenforceable ban that outlaws abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks.  Georgia's law makes 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.)  A court has approved a consent order that limits enforcement of this ban to post-viability abortion and adds exceptions to protect the woman's life and health. Midtown Hosp. v. Miller, 1:97-CV-1786-JOF (N.D. Ga. Sept. 3, 1998). 

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.  Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.

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