Court upholds Tennessee’s 48-hour abortion waiting period

UNDATED (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

Justices on Thursday argued that opponents had failed to identify instances where a woman had been significantly burdened by the requirement.

The decision comes after a lower federal court last year struck down the 2015 Tennessee law that requires those seeking an abortion to make two trips to a clinic – first for mandatory counseling and then for the abortion at least 48 hours later.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which had filed the lawsuit on behalf of several abortion providers, criticized the court’s ruling.


tennessee attorney general

Herbert Slatery

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III issued a statement approving of the ruling: 

“The Sixth Circuit’s decision is gratifying for several reasons.

First, the result: a law passed by our representative lawmakers and signed by the Governor five years ago—yes, five years ago—is constitutional.

It has been on the books a long time.

The Court concluded that, during this time, the 48-hour waiting period has not been a substantial obstacle to getting an abortion in Tennessee.

Second, the opinion was a reasoned analysis of the law and the lack of proof offered by the plaintiffs, rather than a decision based on policy.

Also, this ruling comes after the full Court reconsidered an earlier decision by a three-judge panel of the same Court.”

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