US judge strikes down Tennessee abortion law requiring 48-hour waiting period

Source: Reuters Published: 2020/10/15 19:13:40

A US federal judge on Wednesday struck down a Tennessee law requiring a 48-hour waiting period for abortions, saying it placed an unconstitutional burden on women.

Early voting for the 2020 presidential election started in Tennessee on Wednesday. Photo: VCG

The law, which went into effect in 2015, required abortion providers to inform patients of the risks and wait at least 48 hours before proceeding, "to ensure that a consent for an abortion is truly informed consent." 

US District Court Judge Bernard Freidman ruled in favor of several abortion clinics that sued the state in 2015.

"The statute imposes numerous burdens that, taken together, place women's physical and psychological health and well-being at risk," Freidman wrote in the decision. 

"The burdens especially affect low-income women, who comprise the vast majority of those seeking an abortion," he explained. 

Freidman's decision was a victory for abortion rights advocates at a moment of heightened US political controversy over abortion.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights advocacy group, is challenging similar waiting period laws in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, it said on Wednesday. 

In the 2019 Tennessee trial, doctors testifying for the abortion clinics said the law created unjustifiable logistical difficulties for women, particularly for those who had to take time off work and travel up to 160 kilometers to the nearest abortion clinic on two separate occasions, 48 hours apart.
Newspaper headline: US judge strikes down Tennessee abortion law

Posted in: AMERICAS

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