Federal judges block abortion ban laws in Tennessee, Georgia

Federal judges block abortion ban laws in Tennessee, Georgia
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Two of the country's strictest abortion laws were blocked by federal judges on Monday.

A federal court in Georgia on Monday permanently blocked the state's "heartbeat" law that banned physicians from performing an abortion once a fetus’s “heartbeat” can be detected — usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Tennessee issued a temporary restraining order to block a law that would have essentially banned abortion at nearly every stage of pregnancy, less than an hour after Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed it. 

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In Georgia, District Judge Steve C. Jones ruled that the law violated a woman’s constitutional right to access to abortion, as established by the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established a woman's right to abortion.

A woman has a "constitutional liberty ... to have some freedom to terminate her pregnancy,” Jones wrote.

Jones last year temporarily blocked the law from going into effect while the case played out in court. It was set to take effect on Jan. 1.

The state is expected to appeal.

In Tennessee, District Court Judge William Campbell, Jr. issued a temporary restraining order effective until July 27. 

Abortion rights groups Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in June after the bill passed the state Senate in an early morning vote. 

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The ban was in effect for less than an hour before being blocked by the court.

Similar six-week abortion bans have been struck down in Mississippi, Ohio and other states. States have been passing the laws in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade.

The Georgia and Tennessee rulings come two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down a Louisiana law that required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.