How SCOTUS’ abortion ruling impacts Georgia’s November elections

The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a historic ruling on Friday
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 10:19 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 2:15 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Friday’s announcement the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Mississippi’s abortion law that bans the procedure after 15 weeks has far-reaching impacts in Georgia’s elections this year, including its U.S. Senate race, several congressional contests and the nationally watched governor’s race.

“This ruling means the status quo is going to change,” said Dr. Amy Steigerwalt, a professor of political science at Georgia State University. “Which groups are motivated to go to the polls this fall will change. For a very long time, pro-life groups were the most motivated. Until now, the law favored those who were pro-choice. Now, the whole status quo has been lifted.”

The court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization essentially states there is no constitutional right to abortion services, and thus allows individual states to more heavily regulate or ban the procedure. The ruling essentially overturns Roe v. Wade, the court’s landmark 1973 ruling which ruled a pregnant woman has the right to choose to an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Supreme Court could overturn Roe V. Wade

Roe v. Wade struck down many federal and state abortion laws.

RELATED: Overturning of Roe v. Wade would jumpstart Georgia’s Heartbeat Law

In 2019, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law that would ban abortions after a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat. The law is commonly referred to as the “heartbeat law.” The measure was soon blocked by a federal appeals court, but could now soon become law in Georgia.

“Georgia’s abortion bill is a mixed bag for Kemp,” said Dr. Charles Bullock of the University of Georgia, said. “The bill, which would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected, is popular among his base, but not popular among most Georgians.”

RELATED: What to expect in Kemp vs. Abrams, round two

Bullock said Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is again seeking the governorship after an unsuccessful 2018 campaign against Kemp, will criticize Kemp and his fellow Republicans on the issue of abortion access.

“Abrams will point to this issue, while Kemp and his supporters will think this is the most wonderful decision,” Bullock said. “But most Georgians aren’t there.”

Earlier this year, a draft of the decision was leaked to Politico, sparking renewed debate on arguably the nation’s most contentious political issue.

RELATED: Georgia and abortion: Where does the state stand?

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the draft opinion stated. It was signed by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

Georgia is one of 26 states that could ban abortion now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on Dobbs, according to pro-abortion rights think tank Guttmacher Institute.