Federal Judge Steve Jones applied a preliminary injunction against Georgia’s new heartbeat abortion law this week in what many observers are calling a “blow against the pro-life movement.” While it’s certainly true, however, that this would seem like that at first glance, a closer examination might reveal that this is what Republicans in the state were more or less counting on from the outset.
It was no coincidence that we started seeing historically-restrictive abortion bills being passed by state legislatures after Trump was elected and Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were confirmed to the Supreme Court. This has been the gameplan all along: Get these laws tied up in the court, and ultimately hope that we can get a landmark case back in front of the Supreme Court. Only then do we have a shot at modifying (if not overturning) Roe v. Wade.
As for this specific law and this specific ruling, this is far from the final say. Jones’ injunction is only temporary, meant to put the new regulations – which limit abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected – on hold until the courts can decide the full merits of the case against it. While the judge said that there were potential violations of a woman’s “right to privacy” inherent in the law, it may be that an appeals court will ultimately rule in favor of the state. Only time will tell.
Certainly, pro-abortion advocates were happy about the ruling.
“This is a victory for Georgia and people all across the country,” a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman told CBS News. “We promise the people we serve and the people across the state to protect access to abortion and together we have.”
In his ruling, Judge Jones (appointed by Obama, go figure) determined that Georgia was wrong to argue that existing case law has made no firm limitations on how states may legislate the care of unborn life.
“Under no circumstances whatsoever,” he wrote, “may a State prohibit or ban abortions at any point prior to viability, no matter what interests the State asserts to support it.”
And it is perhaps the truth that existing case law does indeed give Jones a firm piece of ground upon which to issue this ruling. That’s why it’s so important for Georgia and other states to appeal their cases up the judicial ladder – so we can make NEW case law that abides by constitutional logic and not by the whims of the liberal trends of the day. We have that opportunity now before us. Let’s hope we make the most of it.