Tennessee seeks to reinstate waiting period before abortion, appeals judge’s ruling
NASHVILLE, Tennessee, November 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III is appealing a recent district court decision that overturned the state’s 2015 law requiring a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. In the meantime, he asked pro-abortion federal district judge Bernard A. Friedman to keep the law in place.
On October 14, Friedman had ruled that the waiting period law was unconstitutional, even though the state’s constitution explicitly rejects “abortion rights.”
Citing the “undue burden” standard of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Planned Parenthod v. Casey decision, he argued that the Tennessee law “unduly burdens women’s right to an abortion and is an affront to their ‘dignity and autonomy,’ ‘personhood’ and ‘destiny,’ and ‘conception of [their] place in society.’”
He rejected the state’s arguments that the waiting period favors more rational decision-making, calling those arguments “insulting” and “paternalistic.”
Friedman is a known friend of the abortion movement. This spring, he blocked a Tennessee coronavirus order banning the killing of unborn babies for the duration of the health crisis.
In that decision, he wrote that “Delaying a woman’s access to abortion even by a matter of days can result in her having to undergo a lengthier and more complex procedure that involves progressively greater health risks, or can result in her losing the right to obtain an abortion altogether.”
The motion filed today by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery requests that the law requiring a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion be kept in place. Slatery argued that following the law has not harmed abortion providers who have complied with the law for the past five years, and that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will likely rule in the state’s favor.
In 2018, the same court rejected a pro-abortion attempt to overturn Tennessee’s 2014 pro-life constitutional amendment.
That amendment reads, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”
The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently rejected a challenge to this amendment.