SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, et al. v. Governor of the State of Georgia, et al., No. 20-13024 (11th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Georgia enacted the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act in 2019. 2019 Ga. Laws Act 234 (H.B. 481). A group of abortion-rights advocacy groups, providers, and practitioners filed a two-count complaint naming as defendants multiple state officials in their official capacities. The abortionists’ first count alleged that the Act’s prohibition on post-fetal-heartbeat abortions violated women’s substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. See H.B. 481 Section 4. The abortionists’ second count alleged that the definition of “[n]atural person” in section 3 of the Act, see id. Section 3, is unconstitutionally vague on its face. The abortionists’ complaint requested preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining the enforcement of the Act, a declaratory judgment that the Act violates the Fourteenth Amendment, and attorney’s fees.
The district court entered a permanent injunction prohibiting the state officials from enforcing the Act and declared that sections 3 and 4 of the Act violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit vacated the injunction and reversed the judgment, holding that the prohibition of abortion after fetal heartbeat in the Act is subject only to rational basis review and that abortion prohibitions survive rational basis review. Further, the court held that the definition of natural person is not facially void for vagueness.