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Doctors Warn They Will ‘Suffer Irreparable Harm’ From Georgia’s Restrictive Abortion Ban

By Tara Culp-Ressler on December 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

"Doctors Warn They Will ‘Suffer Irreparable Harm’ From Georgia’s Restrictive Abortion Ban"

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Three doctors in Georgia are seeking to block their state’s restrictive abortion ban, which outlaws the procedure after 20 weeks of gestation except in very narrow cases of medical emergency.

Representing the doctors in an Atlanta court on Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged that — in addition to preventing women from choosing when to terminate a pregnancy — the stringent law will force doctors to make an impossible choice because they could be criminally prosecuted for providing their patients with the health care they need:

“It is unconstitutional on its face,” ACLU attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas told the judge. “It is undisputed that plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm.” [...]

“The act, which bans nearly all pre-viability abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization, infringes on the fundamental right of a woman to decide whether and when to bear a child,” and breaches rights enshrined in Georgia’s constitution, the ACLU argued in a Nov. 30 complaint.

Georgia was the seventh state in the nation to enact a 20-week abortion ban. Such measures typically rely on the widely disputed claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.

The ACLU has also taken legal action against a similar stringent 20-week abortion ban in Arizona, successfully blocking the measure from taking effect while a court considers the case against it. Arizona officials defended the restrictive legislation by claiming that medical issues that arise after 20 weeks of pregnancy are simply “the woman’s problem.”

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