Federal judge strikes down Tennessee law requiring waiting period before abortion

pregancy, abortion, pressured

UPDATE, 11/5/2020: Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery has filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Bernard Freidman to allow the state’s 48-hour waiting period for abortions law to remain in place while the state appeals Friedman’s ruling which struck down the law. He argued that the state is likely to win its case at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because the waiting period law does not violate the constitution.

Slatery noted that the abortion facilities will not be burdened because they have already been complying with the law over the five years of litigation that took place before the law was struck down.

10/26/20: A U.S. federal judge struck down a Tennessee abortion waiting period law on Wednesday, which required women to wait 48 hours before proceeding with an abortion.

From 1978 to 2000, Tennessee had a 48-hour waiting period for abortion which ended when the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution included a right to abortion. However, in 2015, the constitution was revised to say there is no right to abortion and the 48-hour waiting period went back into effect.

Several abortion businesses, including Planned Parenthood, then sued the state claiming that the law placed unnecessary burdens on women and that it treated women and their medical decision-making abilities differently than men.

Senior U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, a Reagan appointee, called the law “gratuitously demeaning” and deemed it unconstitutional. “Defendants’ suggestion that women are overly emotional and must be required to cool off or calm down before having a medical procedure they have decided they want to have, and that they are constitutionally entitled to have, is highly insulting and paternalistic — and all the more so given that no such waiting periods apply to men,” wrote Friedman.

There is no pre-planned surgery that does not have a waiting period built-in, and many times non-emergency surgeries are planned weeks in advance. To say that an abortion-related waiting period does not apply to men and therefore should not apply to women is nonsensical, as men are forbidden from choosing life or abortion for their own children. A father has no rights at all when it comes to protecting his child’s life in the womb.

READ: Without proof, Tennessee abortionists claim 48-hour abortion waiting period burdens women

Waiting periods require time for women to discuss abortion with a provider and then think over the decision to abort for a short period of time before making the final decision. A waiting period is not a ban on the procedure. The abortion industry, while claiming that such a law is burdensome for women to have to visit an abortion facility twice, is aware that a time period of reflection may lead some women to change their minds about following through with a scheduled abortion, which results in profit lost for an abortion business.


During the case’s court proceedings, attorney Steven Hart with the Tennessee Attorney General Offices brought to light information that Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and Northern Mississippi had disclosed: in the three years since the 48-hour waiting period went back into effect in Tennessee — 2015 to 2018 — 2,365 women who went to Planned Parenthood for abortion consultations did not return for their actual abortion appointments. If the average cost of a first-trimester abortion is $483, as the Guttmacher Institute reports, then this resulted in an income loss of $1.1 million dollars for Planned Parenthood.

The abortion industry has been accused of treating women like cattle in rushing them through abortion appointments. The more patients a doctor sees in a day, the more profit he makes. Abortion waiting periods hurt profits. They don’t hurt women. They don’t hurt preborn children.

Abortion cannot truly be compared to any other procedure, because unlike legitimate medical procedures, abortion performed correctly kills an innocent human being. An abortion has failed when a human being survives. Since a woman can suffer effects of abortion trauma when she aborts a child, and 73.8% of women who have aborted report that they were pressured to do so, women should be given time to reconsider that decision. Abortion can come with a lifetime of regret and an increased risk of depression, alcohol use, drug use, and suicide. Women deserve better than to be rushed into such a life-altering, life-taking decision.

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