A Tennessee city is being forced to allow an abortion clinic to expand against its residents’ wishes after a federal judge ruled against a city zoning ordinance Friday.
Reuters reports U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson blocked Mt. Juliet from enforcing the ordinance restricting surgical abortions within its city limits.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the ordinance in December on behalf of carafem, an abortion chain that opened in Mt. Juliet in March 2019. Carafem is known for its brash advertising campaigns, including “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.”
Here’s more from the Tennessean:
The judge agreed with the [abortion facility] that comments made by members of the Board of Commissioners, who passed the ordinance, show that the purpose of the ordinance was to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.
“Their statements were clear,” Richardson wrote. “The officials played their hand — they made clear their position: that they were going to do whatever they could to prevent abortions within Mt. Juliet because, according to them (and, presumably, many of their constituents), abortion is morally wrong.”
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.
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“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.
“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, previously.
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, previously. “This litigation underscores the paramount importance of carefully drafting public policies that can withstand the highest constitutional scrutiny.”