A U.S. federal court in Georgia has temporarily suspended a state law banning nearly all abortions after the 20-week mark in a pregnancy, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement Monday.

"This law places women in harm's way by depriving them of the right to make their own serious medical decisions," said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Politicians should not place ideology over a woman's health."

The group filed a suit challenging the law earlier this year, on behalf of three obstetricians who said they had patients in need of the procedure, known as "pre-viability" abortions. The law had been scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.

The law was passed by the state senate in March, with the added stipulation that abortions after 20 weeks, or roughly five months into a pregnancy, would still be allowed in cases where the fetus had a chromosomal or congenital defect that would prevent it from surviving outside the mother's womb.

"I think we need to give doctors and their patients that opportunity," said state Sen. John Bulloch (R) at the time, adding that lawmakers did not need to "punish a pregnant woman."

[Image via Agence France-Presse]