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Doctors challenge Georgia abortion law

Dec. 6, 2012 at 8:41 AM

ATLANTA, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Three gynecologists said Georgia's new abortion law, which bans the procedure after 20 weeks and is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2013, is unconstitutional.

The doctors have sued Gov. Nathan Deal and other state officials challenging the bill, which Deal signed into law May 1, Courthouse News Service reported Wednesday.

The bill says a fetus is viable after 20 weeks of gestation and therefore is the state's responsibility to protect. The doctors said at 20 weeks, a fetus does not have a reasonable likelihood of surviving outside the womb.

 "Where a healthy woman is carrying a healthy, singleton fetus, viability generally occurs at 22 weeks post-fertilization. In many instances in which the woman is sick, the fetus is compromised in some way, and/or it is a multi-fetal pregnancy, the fetus does not become viable until later in the pregnancy, if at all," the complaint said.

Also in question is that the bill allows Georgia district attorneys unfettered access to abortion patients' medical records to determine whether charges should be filed, the news service said.

"By allowing district attorneys to access patient medical records without due process protections, the act violates plaintiffs' patients' rights to privacy guaranteed by various provisions of the Georgia Constitution, including due process, freedom of conscience and inherent rights," the complaint said.

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