What Are Your Rights? A Fetal Heartbeat Bill is Passed in Georgia

Man: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Greg: New antiabortion legislation, dubbed the fetal heartbeat bill, was recently signed into law in the state of Georgia. It happened just the week. The newly enacted law restricts a woman’s right to an abortion in that state and may conflict with long-standing law of the land under Roe v. Wade.

So, here to sort it all out for us, help us examine this issue is managing partner, Paul Harding, from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, it’s always great to have you with us to explain some of these legal technicalities because there’s a lot going on here legally.

Paul: There sure is.

Greg: So, first of all, explain the fetal heartbeat bill to us.

Paul: Yeah. So, it’s one of those bills, of course, self-explanatory in a sense that, as soon as there is a viable heartbeat, we’re talking the fifth or sixth week. At that point, if a woman has an abortion, it would be illegal in the state of Georgia.

Greg: So, this is one of the most stringent abortion laws in the nation. It certainly doesn’t compare to what we have here in New York.

Paul: No. You might want to look at it as polar opposites. So, in New York, it’s the 24th week. And then recent legislation said that they can go even beyond that if we talk about fetus viability or we’re talking about danger to the woman. So, yeah, there couldn’t be more two contrasting laws on abortion.

Greg: And it certainly has become controversial very quickly. Opponents are vowing to challenge its legitimacy in court. What’s your take on this? Is this constitutional? How does this play out?

Paul: Yeah. So, it’s unconstitutional under the current law. So, at this point, you’ve got Roe v. Wade, and Roe v. Wade would be inconsistent with what Georgia did and fairly consistent with what New York did. So, yeah, we’ve got something that is going to reverberate through the country.

Greg: So, what happens when a state law tries to supersede a federal law?

Paul: Well, you know, they’re doing this because they want to push the envelope because what we have is a different supreme court. Roe v. Wade, we’re going back decades when that case became law. We’ve got many new faces on the supreme court, and I believe what we’re seeing here is an attempt to change to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Greg: So do we see a long, protracted legal battle here?

Paul: Oh, you know, we all make a living on long, protracted battles and I think we’re going to see one here. Supreme court is probably going to look at this. They could pass on it. If the lower court finds that it is in violation of Roe v. Wade, they might take it up and revisit it. We’ll have to wait and see.

Greg: In the meantime, we’ll keep checking in with you. Thank you very much, Paul Harding, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. As always, good legal insight for us.