A Tennessee law that requires women seeking an abortion to undergo a 48-hour waiting period will remain in effect, the state’s Attorney General has announced. The news came after the clock expired on any chance for abortion advocates to appeal the August ruling of the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which determined that the state could enforce the law.
The six-year battle began in 2015 when the state passed its law requiring that all women seeking an abortion undergo a 48-hour waiting period. Abortion advocates contested the law in court, claiming that it provided an undue burden on women seeking abortions. After going back and forth in the courts, the court of appeals ruled in August that the law could stand, saying “Tennessee’s 48-hour abortion waiting period is facially constitutional. The law is supported by a rational basis, and is not a substantial obstacle to abortion for a large fraction of women seeking previability abortions in Tennessee.”
Abortion is a serious undertaking that comes with a number of risks. Much in the same way that a doctor meets with a patient days or weeks before any surgical procedure that isn’t an emergency, this waiting time gives the woman a chance to meet with her doctor beforehand so that she can discuss the abortion procedure and is fully informed of the risks. This isn’t an undue burden — it ensures that women are fully informed before making such a life-altering decision.
Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery put out a statement Friday announcing that the fight was over and again thanking the court for upholding the law. “We are grateful that the Court recognized the validity of a law passed by the people’s representatives and did not substitute its own judgment for the policy decision made by the legislature and the Governor,” he wrote.
Savannah Bearden, director of communications for Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, acknowledged to the Associated Press that the abortion giant had given up its fight against the law.“We fought to get this law overturned because we recognize the burden the 48 hour forced delay places on our patients; however, that fight came to an end in August when the 6th Circuit made their ruling,” she said.
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