ATLANTA – This Friday, the ACLU of Georgia and its legal partners return to federal court for oral arguments in SisterSong v Kemp, the lawsuit that challenged Georgia’s 2019 abortion ban. The lawsuit seeks to reaffirm Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that famously invalidated the 1970’s Texas law on the ground that the constitutional right to privacy encompasses a woman’s decision whether or not to continue her pregnancy. The ACLU of Georgia’s message is clear: Let Her Decide.
In December 2019, the U.S. District Court in Atlanta struck down the abortion ban as unconstitutional. The ban had been scheduled to take effect January 1, 2020. Although the State of Georgia appealed the decision, the court’s December ruling blocks the law’s implementation as litigation proceeds.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta will hear oral arguments this Friday, September 24, 2021.
The Georgia law – HB 481 – bans abortion care as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant. Georgia’s abortion ban is in clear violation of Roe v. Wade and nearly a half century of U.S. Supreme Court precedent reaffirming Roe’s central holding.
Writing for the court in 1992, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote, “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”
The organizations bringing forward the lawsuit represent a wide-range of health providers, including SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc., Atlanta Comprehensive Wellness Clinic, Atlanta Women’s Medical Center, FemHealth USA d/b/a carafem, Columbus Women’s Health Organization, P.C., Summit Medical Associates, P.C., Carrie Cwiak, M.D., M.P.H., Lisa Haddad, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., and Eva Lathrop, M.D., M.P.H.
The defendants in the case are Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Attorney General Christopher M. Carr, Commissioner for the Department of Public Health Kathleen Toomey, the Executive Director and Members of the Georgia Composite Medical Board, and the District Attorneys for the counties where the plaintiffs provide medical care — all sued in their official capacities.
SisterSong v. Kemp was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.