A Tennessee law that ensures women are not rushed into aborting their unborn babies will remain blocked after a federal judge ruled Monday.
The AP reports U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman refused to lift his block on the state 48-hour waiting period law, which requires abortion facilities to provide informed consent counseling to women at least two days prior to an abortion.
The state is appealing to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Friedman initially blocked the pro-life law in October, arguing that it burdens women’s access to abortion, according to the report. A group of Tennessee abortion facilities is challenging the law.
“This common sense policy, in effect since 2015, has resulted in the saving of countless unborn lives and a lack of regret by mothers who had time to further consider her decision following provision of informed consent information,” Tennessee Right to Life wrote earlier this fall. “The extra 48-hours also allowed mothers the opportunity to identify life-affirming resources in her community or region.”
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However, lawyers for the abortion facilities argued that the law caused women to delay their abortions, sometimes by several weeks, according to the report. They argued in court that a few women were not able to abort their unborn babies at all because the 48-hour waiting period pushed them past the state’s legal abortion limit, the report continues.
Here’s more from the report:
A motion filed last month by state Attorney General Herbert Slatery in the U.S. District Court in Nashville asked Friedman to keep the law in place during the appeal. It argued that Friedman should have weighed the benefits of the restriction against the burdens it places on patients.
In his opinion Monday, Friedman stated that the outcome would have been the same. “With or without such a balancing test, the Tennessee statute constitutes a ‘substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion’ and, thus, an undue burden,” he wrote.
Waiting periods do help women by giving them time to consider information about the abortion, its risks and alternatives and the development of their unborn babies. They also save babies’ lives.
In 2019, Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor at Bowling Green State University, testified that 25 percent to 40 percent of women seeking abortions arrive at the abortion facility undecided. She said her research has found that informed consent requirements and waiting periods do help women.
Another study from University of California, San Francisco also found that some women change their minds and choose life for their unborn babies after a counseling session and waiting period.
“This waiting period law was drafted in consultation with nationally renowned legal scholars in order to mirror similar laws across the country. We have no doubt that the Sixth Circuit will swiftly overturn Judge Friedman’s ruling.” said Will Brewer, legal counsel and legislative liaison for Tennessee Right to Life, in October.
The pro-life organization said the law is a basic legal safeguard that helps women, girls and babies.