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Court allows abortion 'reasons ban' law to take effect in Tennessee

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Posted at 6:39 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 23:05:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A 6th Circuit Court of Appeals panel granted a request from Tennessee, allowing part of the "reason bans" abortion law to take effect.

It was signed into law in July as part of a larger abortion bill that was immediately blocked by a lower court.

However, Friday's ruling will allow the "reason bans" to take effect while litigation continues. It prohibits abortion based on a patient’s reason, including a potential Down syndrome diagnosis or the sex or race of the fetus.

Reproductive rights advocates are fighting the law by requesting a temporary restraining order.

This is one of three Tennessee abortion laws currently facing a legal challenge. Most of the abortion overhaul including a ban on abortions after six-weeks is still tied up in court.

Governor Bill Lee took to social media saying it is worth the fight.

However, activists say the ban and others like it cause harm by creating "a stigma around abortions by attempting to co-opt the mantle of disability rights."

“It is shameful that the court would allow this abortion ban to take effect while the case continues. Unless the courts take further action, this harmful law will prohibit some Tennesseans from obtaining abortion,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project. “This law was motivated by anti-abortion politics, and does nothing to support people with disabilities. We will continue to fight until everyone in Tennessee who needs an abortion can get one.”

“These bans are just another way anti-abortion politicians are attempting to limit the constitutional right to abortion care and to create stigma,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Decisions about whether and when to continue or to end a pregnancy are best made by the individual and their family. We will continue to fight these bans in the courts.”