The state court ruling that suspended Georgia’s antiabortion law Tuesday leaves many unanswered questions in state politics, from appeal to reenacting a similar law, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The state filed an immediate appeal with the state Supreme Court of Tuesday's local-court ruling. But, if the resolution resides in the state legislature, a new round of debate over how strictly to regulate abortion in the state poses new challenges.
Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled that abortions must be regulated as they were before the law that was passed in 2019 and took effect in July, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and held that abortion is not a constitutionally protected right. The pre-2019 state law allowed abortions up to about 22 weeks of pregnancy, as opposed to the 2019 standard banning most abortions as early as six weeks. McBurney held that the legislature lacked authority to pass a law that, at the time, violated the law of the land. It was, he wrote, "void upon passage." Now the issue lands in the lap of Gov. Brian Kemp, who won reelection this month promising to be laser-focused on economic issues and ways to make Georgia “the best state to do business.” Both the state House and Senate will have new GOP leaders when the next session begins in January, but with smaller majorities than when the 2019 law barely passed. Many rank-and-file legislators don’t want to revive the emotional 2019 debate, but the high-profile ruling voiding the earlier law may give them little choice.