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Georgia ACLU branch files suit to block state abortion law

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU) [advocacy website] on Friday filed a suit [press release] to block the state's new abortion law from taking effect next month. The challenged law, HB 954 [text], bans abortions after 20 weeks and contains a narrow exception for medical emergencies. The ACLU argues that, although abortions after 20 weeks are rare, women have many reasons for choosing to have them after that point, and this law will create obstacles to obtaining necessary procedures. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, who signed the bill into law in May, said [press release] the law "provides humane protection to innocents capable of feeling pain, while making an important exception for in the case of medically futile pregnancies." The law is set to take effect on January 1.

Numerous states have changed their abortion laws to restrict the availability of abortion recently, usually leading to legal challenges. Last month, Montana voters passed a referendum [JURIST report] requiring facilities and doctors to inform parents of minors 16 to 48 hours before a planned abortion procedure. Also last month, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] heard oral arguments [JURIST report] on a challenge to Arizona's law which, like Georgia's law, bans abortions after 20 weeks. Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] also sued Texas [JURIST report] in October claiming that its law preventing state funding from going to any clinics affiliated with providing abortions violates another state law.

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