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Wednesday, December 26, 2012 - 8:25am

Ga. Pro-Lifers Dismayed By Judge's Ruling

Updated: 1 year ago.
The architect of a state ban on most abortions after 20 weeks says he's disappointed his law won't be going into effect as scheduled. Outgoing state Rep. Doug McKillip (R-Athens) wrote and sponsored the legislation that was signed by Governor Nathan Deal earlier this year but is being challenged by the ACLU of Georgia. (Photo: courtesy of the Georgia House of Representatives)

The architect of a state ban on most abortions after 20 weeks says he's disappointed his law won't be going into effect as scheduled.

Outgoing state Rep. Doug McKillip (R-Athens) wrote and sponsored the legislation that was signed by Governor Nathan Deal earlier this year but is being challenged by the ACLU of Georgia.

Late last week, Fulton Superior Court Judge Doris Downs issued a temporary injunction to stop the law from going into effect January 1.

McKillip said he’s frustrated but not entirely disheartened.

"I am not familiar enough with the lawsuit to know how much the ACLU went judge shopping to find exactly the right venue and exactly the right judge to enjoin the law," McKillip said. "The cause will march forward, regardless of this judge and her ruling."

Other pro-life advocates were even more impassioned in their dismay over Judge Downs' ruling.

"Disappointed is a minimal word here," said Georgia Right to Life spokesperson Suzanne Ward. "We feel that this injunction guarantees the killing of innocent children here in Georgia until this case is resolved."

Georgia is the seventh state to pass a ban on virtually all abortions after 20 weeks, based on the disputed premise that a fetus is able to feel pain at that stage of development.

Despite numerous legal challenges, courts have upheld those laws in other states.

But the challenge against Georgia's law is different, said Mercer University law professor David Oedel.

"This one's going on the basis of the Georgia constitution and its privacy rights," Oedel said. "That’s different from the other challenges which have been based on the United States constitution, so really I think Judge Downs is going about this with an abundance of caution."

Oedel cautioned against reading too deeply into the judge's temporary order; it only indicates that Judge Downs believes there is a case worth hearing, he said.

Downs will decide on the merits at a later date.