A Tennessee law that ensures mothers are not rushed into aborting their unborn babies will remain in effect after pro-abortion groups failed to file an appeal, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said Friday.
The Nashville Tennessean reports Slatery celebrated the end of a long court battle with pro-abortion groups over the 2015 pro-life law.
“The legal battle is over,” his office announced Friday.
The law requires abortion facilities to provide informed consent to mothers at least 48 hours before aborting their unborn babies. Waiting periods give women time to consider information about abortion risks, alternatives and the development of their unborn babies before going through with the abortion.
In August, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling blocking the law. On Friday, Slatery said the deadline for pro-abortion groups to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court had passed, meaning the law will remain in effect.
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“We are grateful that the court recognized the validity of a law passed by the people’s representatives and did not substitute its own judgment for the policy decision made by the legislature and the governor,” Slatery said in a statement.
In its August ruling, the Sixth Circuit concluded that the 48-hour waiting period law was constitutional.
“The law is supported by a rational basis, and it is not a substantial obstacle to abortion for a large fraction of women seeking previability abortions in Tennessee,” the judges wrote. “And the plaintiffs failed to present any specific evidence to sustain their as-applied challenge. We thus reverse the district court’s decision and remand for entry of judgment in Tennessee’s favor on these claims.”
Lawyers for the abortion facilities had argued that the law caused women to delay their abortions, and a few were not able to abort their unborn babies at all.
But Tennessee Right to Life responded that the law is saving babies’ lives.
“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,” the pro-life organization commented previously. “The extra 48-hours also allowed mothers the opportunity to identify life-affirming resources in her community or region.”
The evidence is strong that waiting period laws protect unborn babies from abortion and empower mothers to choose life.
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 found that informed consent requirements and waiting periods do help women.
Another study from University of California, San Francisco also found evidence that some women change their minds and choose life for their unborn babies after a counseling session and waiting period.
New government health data from Ireland also suggests its three-day waiting period is saving unborn babies’ lives. According to the 2020 data, 1,480 of the 8,057 women who received abortion consultations decided not to go through with their abortions three days later, according to Right to Life UK.