Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is set to sign legislation banning abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant.
Kemp’s office says the signing at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the state Capitol in Atlanta will be attended by lawmakers including state Rep. Ed Setzler, the bill’s author.
The signing ceremony caps weeks of protest and marks the beginning of what could be a costly legal battle.
ACLU of Georgia legal director Sean Young said the legislation is unconstitutional and that the ACLU plans to challenge it in court.
“Every federal court that has heard a challenge to a similar ban has ruled that it’s unconstitutional,” Young said in a recent interview.
Anti-abortion activists and lawmakers across the country have been energized by the new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Several GOP-controlled states are pushing abortion bans in an attack on the high court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Similar abortion bans have recently been signed into law in Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio, and are being considered in a number of other states.
Kentucky’s law was immediately challenged by the ACLU after it was signed in March, and a federal judge temporarily blocked it.
Under current law, women in Georgia can seek an abortion during the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy. If it’s not blocked in court, the new ban would take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
The proposed Georgia measure banning abortions once there’s a “detectable human heartbeat” makes exceptions in the case of rape and incest — if the woman files a police report first — and to save the life of the mother. It also would allow for abortions when a fetus is determined not to be viable because of serious medical issues.