Friday, October 16, 2020

Tennessee 48-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Struck Down

 In Adams & Boyle, P.C. v. Slatery, (MD TN, Oct. 14, 2020), a Tennessee federal district court struck down Tennessee's requirement that women seeking an abortion must receive specified information in person and then wait 48 hours before undergoing the procedure. The court, in a 136-page opinion, said in part:

The Court finds and concludes that the mandatory waiting period required by § 39-15-202(a)-(h) substantially burdens women seeking an abortion in Tennessee. Plaintiffs have demonstrated conclusively that the statute causes increased wait times, imposes logistical and financial burdens, subjects patients to increased medical risks, and stigmatizes and demeans women. These burdens are especially difficult, if not impossible, for low-income women to overcome, and the evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of women seeking abortions in Tennessee are low income. Further, plaintiffs have shown that the statute undermines the doctor-patient relationship and imposes operational and financial burdens on abortion providers....

Defendants have failed to show that the challenged mandatory waiting period protects fetal life or the health of women in Tennessee. It is apparent that this waiting period 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.”

Courthouse News Service reports on the decision. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]