Date set for oral arguments in case over Georgia's abortion law

A small group, including Stephanie Batchelor, left, sits on the steps of the Georgia state Capitol protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 26, 2022. The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday, Nov. 23, reinstated the state's ban on abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy.

Ben Gray / Ben Gray

The Supreme Court of Georgia has announced March 28, 2023, as the date when justices are expected to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging the state’s abortion restrictions. The case has been moving through the courts since last summer.

Georgia’s 2019 abortion law, known as House Bill 481, bans abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy, when cardiac activity can often be detected in the womb but before many women even know they’re pregnant.

Attorneys from the ACLU representing Georgia abortion-rights advocates and abortion providers sued to block the law after a federal court allowed it to take effect. 

They argue H.B. 481 is unconstitutional because it violated Roe v. Wade abortion guarantees when the law was created, passed and signed by the governor. They also argue that abortion restrictions interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.

State officials say the law should remain in effect, arguing it’s not unconstitutional and that it provides for several exceptions to protect women’s health, including in cases of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

The lawsuit was heard in Atlanta last fall before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney.