Georgia abortion providers wary after court strikes down ban

Nov 17, 2022, 2:21 PM | Updated: 2:43 pm
FILE - Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney instructs potential jurors during proceed...

FILE - Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney instructs potential jurors during proceedings to seat a special purpose grand jury on, May 2, 2022, in Atlanta. McBurney overturned Georgia's ban on abortion starting around six weeks into a pregnancy, ruling Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, that it violated the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent when it was enacted and was therefore void. McBurney's ruling took effect immediately statewide, though the state attorney general's office said it appealed it. The ban had been in effect since July. (AP Photo/Ben Gray, File)

(AP Photo/Ben Gray, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Abortion providers in Georgia resumed performing the procedure beyond six weeks of pregnancy this week after a judge threw out the state’s abortion ban. But some said they are moving cautiously amid an ongoing legal fight that could just as quickly restore the restrictions.

Phone calls to the carafem clinic in Atlanta surged starting Tuesday, when the judge’s ruling came out. The clinic resumed providing abortions up to 13 weeks of pregnancy on Wednesday, but staff has cautioned patients that the situation is “tenuous,” chief operations officer Melissa Grant said.

“We will continue to take it as it is now right now and take it a day at a time and an hour at a time if that’s what it requires,” she said in a phone interview.

The Feminist Women’s Health Center, also in Atlanta, plans to resume abortions up to 22 weeks of pregnancy starting on Friday. It has added another day to its abortion schedule and is also looking for an additional provider, said MK Anderson, the clinic’s director of development and communications.

But Anderson said it’s not scheduling appointments more than a few days out right now over concerns a court could abruptly reinstate the state’s ban, which started roughly six weeks into pregnancy.

Explaining the current fluidity of Georgia’s abortion landscape is hard on staff.

“It’s like this roller coaster conversation we have to have with our patients, and that can be emotionally difficult,” Anderson said.

Planned Parenthood Southeast on Wednesday resumed scheduling patients at four Georgia health centers for medication abortion up to 11 weeks, consistent with the services it offered prior to the ban, spokesperson Amy Kennedy said.

The organization is also working to expand abortion options at its health centers.

“We remain committed to offering patients the resources they need to make the decisions that are best for their own bodies and lives,” Kennedy said in a statement.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Tuesday that the state’s abortion ban was invalid because when it was signed into law in 2019, U.S. Supreme Court precedent under Roe. v. Wade and another ruling allowed abortion well past six weeks.

“If the judicial branch has declared a constitutional right, legislatures exceed their authority, improperly expand their role, and fundamentally alter the balance struck by the separation of powers when they enact laws they know to be plainly and facially unconstitutional,” he wrote. “Those laws are void upon passage.”

The decision immediately prohibited enforcement of the abortion ban statewide. It had been in effect since July and prohibited most abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” was present.

Cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound in cells within an embryo that will eventually become the heart around six weeks into a pregnancy. That means most abortions in Georgia were effectively banned at a point before many people knew they were pregnant.

Abortion providers have said the ban forced them to turn away many pregnant women, who could then either travel out of state or keep the pregnancy.

The state attorney general’s office appealed McBurney’s ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court, though it did not indicate in court documents whether it would seek an order to immediately block it.

An email Thursday to a spokesperson for the office, Kara Richardson, was not immediately returned.

McBurney did leave the door open for the state Legislature to pass the abortion ban again now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. The legislature is not due back until January 9.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp could call a special legislative session, but Andrew Isenhour, a spokesperson for his office, said Thursday there have been “no discussions to that effect.”

___

Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Jorge Rodriguez, from the Venezuelan government delegation, center, speaks to the media as he arriv...
Associated Press

Venezuela’s gov, opponents resume talks; US eases sanction

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Venezuela’s government and its opposition on Saturday agreed to create a U.N.-managed fund to finance health, food and education programs for the poor, while the Biden administration eased some oil sanctions on the country in an effort to boost the newly restarted talks between the sides. The agreement signed in Mexico […]
12 hours ago
FILE - A Chevron sign is displayed outside one of the company's gas stations in Bradenton, Fla., Fe...
Associated Press

Biden eases Venezuela sanctions as opposition talks resume

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Saturday eased some oil sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to support newly restarted negotiations between President Nicolás Maduro’s government and its opposition. The Treasury Department is allowing Chevron to resume “limited” energy production in Venezuela after years of sanctions that have dramatically curtailed oil and gas profits […]
12 hours ago
FILE - This file booking photo provided by the Delaware Department of Justice shows Barry Croft Jr....
Associated Press

Judge denies bid for new trial in Whitmer kidnapping case

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a new trial request by two men convicted of conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Lawyers for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. alleged misconduct by a juror and unfairness by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker following their conviction by a federal jury […]
12 hours ago
FILE - This photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows Kevin Johnson.  A federa...
Associated Press

Judge denies 19-year-old’s ask to attend father’s execution

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request from a 19-year-old woman to allow her to watch her father’s death by injection, upholding a Missouri law that bars anyone under 21 from witnessing an execution. Kevin Johnson is set to be executed Tuesday for killing Kirkwood, Missouri, Police Officer William McEntee in […]
12 hours ago
FILE - This March 6, 2014, file photo shows the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation's only unde...
Associated Press

US nuclear waste repository begins filling new disposal area

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Workers at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository have started using a newly mined disposal area at the underground facility in southern New Mexico. Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant made the announcement this week, saying the first containers of waste to be entombed in the new area came […]
12 hours ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the Broward County Courthouse i...
Associated Press

New state voter fraud units finding few cases from midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — State-level law enforcement units created after the 2020 presidential election to investigate voter fraud are looking into scattered complaints more than two weeks after the midterms but have provided no indication of systemic problems. That’s just what election experts had expected and led critics to suggest that the new units were more […]
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Georgia abortion providers wary after court strikes down ban