City Uses Zoning Laws to Prohibit New Abortion Clinic From Killing Babies, ACLU Files Suit

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 19, 2019   |   5:57PM   |   Mount Joliet, Tennessee

A Tennessee city is facing a lawsuit for trying to protect unborn babies from surgical abortions.

WGNS Radio reports the American Civil Liberties Union announced the lawsuit Wednesday, challenging a Mt. Juliet zoning ordinance that restricts surgical abortions in the city.

The lawsuit is on behalf of carafem, an abortion chain that opened in the city in March. Carafem is known for its brash advertising campaigns, such as “Abortion, yeah, we do that,” and its attempts to create a spa-like environment for women to abort their unborn babies.

The abortion chain does drug-induced abortions in Mt. Juliet, but it wants to expand to surgical abortions as well, according to the lawsuit.

However, the city zoning ordinance is in the way.

“The Ordinance does not protect the health, safety, or welfare of Mt. Juliet citizens, and serves no legitimate governmental interest,” the ACLU states in the lawsuit. “It simply prohibits carafem from providing surgical abortions, in turn unduly burdening Tennesseans attempting to access abortion.”

City commissioners passed the ordinance not long after carafem opened in Mt. Juliet. Local residents strongly opposed the abortion facility and urged their commissioners to do something to keep it from expanding, according to The Blaze.

“I was disgusted to hear they plan to open in my district and my town,” Commissioner Brian Abston told WTVF-TV at the time. “If there is anything we can legally do to keep them from opening in Mt. Juliet, we will do it. I realize they have rights but my constituents and I don’t want it here.”

Commissioner Ray Justice also strongly opposed the abortion business in their city.

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“The members of the commission I have talked to are 100 percent behind shutting this abomination down… This is not Mt. Juliet. This is not us,” Justice said earlier this year.

Trecia Dillingham, president of Wilson County Right to Life, a chapter of Tennessee Right to Life, said Mt. Juliet does not want to be an abortion destination in Tennessee. She encouraged families to seek life-affirming options for their unborn babies.

“There are thousands of people who are ready to be adoptive parents who long for that opportunity. We are praying that the women and girls who are coming to Mt. Juliet to end the life of their precious baby would be divinely redirected to choose life,” Dillingham said.

The ordinance prohibits surgical abortion facilities from being located within 1,000 feet of a school, church, park or residential lot, Courthouse News reports.

Carafem blasted the ordinance as a “complete ban” on abortion facilities that use “gentle suction to empty the contents of the uterus” – a deceptive way to describe a surgical abortion that kills a living, growing unborn child by vacuuming them out of their mother’s womb.

The abortion facility also claims there is a need for more abortions in Mt. Juliet. Carafem said it has turned away women because they were too far along in their pregnancies for a drug-induced abortion. Abortion drugs can be used up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

“Within 48 hours of opening, carafem was completely booked for the next 30 days,” the lawsuit states.

But Will Brewer, legislative lobbyist for Tennessee Right to Life, said families have better options. He encouraged women to contact their organization for pregnancy counseling and support.

“It’s tragic that as most Tennesseans are preparing to celebrate the birth of a child, pro-abortion activists are attacking the fundamental right to life,” Brewer said. “This litigation underscores the paramount importance of carefully drafting public policies that can withstand the highest constitutional scrutiny.”

This year, Tennessee Right to Life received nearly 600 calls from women seeking information about pregnancy options, according to the organization.

“Thankfully we have compassionate and skilled advocates ready to counsel these women and guide them toward life-affirming alternatives to abortion,” the pro-life organization said.