The state immediately appealed McBurney’s decision.
Georgia’s dozen clinics — most in metro Atlanta — remained open this summer and fall, but performed fewer abortions under the toughened law. Many patients traveled to other states with looser restrictions.
Planned Parenthood clinics in metro Atlanta and Savannah have resumed offering medication, or pills, for abortions up to 11 weeks pregnant, as they did before the law of the state.
The North Druid Hills Feminist Women’s Health Center, one of the groups that sued to overturn the state law, will resume performing abortions on Friday for patients up to 22.5 weeks pregnant. , in accordance with the limit before the entry into force of the law.
Tuesday’s decision expanded options for patients in the South, where many states have near-total bans, said Clinic spokeswoman Megan Gordon.
“We’re expecting a large influx of patients, not just across the state, but across the region as well,” Gordon said.
Staff from other departments are being asked to help take calls, book appointments and escort growing numbers of patients, she said. The clinic did not cut staff after the state law took effect and prepared for the possibility of that moment, she said.
“It’s a legal battle, so some degree of back-and-forth isn’t unexpected,” Gordon said.
Many Planned Parenthood callers have expressed concern that the law could suddenly change again, Kennedy said.
“They’re confused,” she said. “They’re frustrated because they were told something last week, two weeks ago or a month ago, and now they’re being told something else.”
Lawyers for Carafem, which operates a clinic in Atlanta, took the time to read the judge’s full statement on Tuesday afternoon, but on Wednesday the clinic began offering abortions up to 13 weeks pregnant, as before state law took effect.
“Today we actually saw people beyond six weeks, so it’s been going well and customers have expressed relief,” said Melissa Grant, co-founder and COO. “People said they were sure they should travel.”
At Summit Medical Associates in Piedmont Heights, cars came and went throughout the morning. Some people sat in their cars but refused to speak when approached by a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Inside, the women checked in at reception, filled out paperwork, and waited for their names to be called. Phones rang and staff answered calls, with most being put on hold due to volume.
A Summit employee confirmed that the clinic has resumed offering abortions up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Movement was swift early Wednesday morning in and out of A Preferred Women’s Health Center, located on a busy street in Forest Park, in an unassuming office park in the shadow of the airport.
Two protesters were outside at the edge of the parking lot. Inside, several women and couples sat nervously in the waiting room. Throughout the morning, cars arrived.
“If a woman is emotional and upset, she knows she’s doing something wrong,” said Jason Cantrell, who said he protests at two abortion clinics five times a week. “She knows she’s killing her baby.”
Cantrell, who is white, used his megaphone to speak out against abortion, calling it the number one killer of black people. Many patients who visit the Forest Park clinic are black or Hispanic, reflecting the demographics of the neighborhood.
Georgia Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, continues to ask Kemp to call a special legislative session to pass a “personhood amendment” to the state constitution that would ban abortion without exception. Earlier this month, the group submitted nearly 5,000 signatures to the governor, executive director Zemmie Fleck said.