Tennessee seeks 6-week abortion ban, then near-total ban
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee attorney general’s office filed an emergency motion on Friday asking a federal appeals court to let the state immediately begin banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
The state also has a trigger law that was written to ban nearly all abortions if Roe v. Wade was overturned. That ban cannot take effect until 30 days after Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But the six-week ban could be implemented as early as next week, if the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agrees to lift a court injunction.
Tennessee’s emergency motion urges the appeals court to move quickly.
Tennessee has a “valid interest in protecting the lives of unborn Tennesseans,” the motion states. ”Those lives are at risk each day the preliminary injunction remains in place, so this Court should grant the State’s motion as soon as possible.”
Planned Parenthood plans to keep providing abortions for now, Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, said at a Friday online news conference. The Planned Parenthood centers she oversees are fully booked with abortion patients through July 1, after which Coffield expects Tennessee to be under the six-week ban.
Coffield said the facilities will still provide other health services and will help guide women to accessible abortion services elsewhere.
“Let me very clear: Banning abortion will cause a public health crisis,” she said. “And we will not forget that the Tennessee and Mississippi lawmakers who have systematically rolled back our rights and bartered our bodies for votes are the ones who got us here.”
Meanwhile, Tennessee Right to Life celebrated the many years of organizing and lobbying it took to get to this point.
“We stand on the shoulders of those who in 1973 refused to accept that Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion were the law of the land,” Tennessee Right to Life President Stacy Dunn said at a Friday news conference at the state Capitol. “This is a great victory for democracy.”