Judge overturns 2015 Tennessee abortion law requiring waiting period

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Posted at 12:28 PM, Oct 14, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A federal judge overturned a 2015 law requiring a waiting period for women wanting an abortion.

Under the law, a woman must make two trips to a clinic - the first for in-person counseling with a doctor. But before going back for the second, the woman must wait 48 hours before returning for the abortion.

On Wednesday, Senior federal District Judge Bernard A. Friedman ruled that it is unconstitutional. He said "Defendants have failed to show that the challenged mandatory waiting period protects fetal life or the health of women in Tennessee. It is apparent that this waiting period unduly burdens women’s right to an abortion and is an affront to their 'dignity and autonomy,' 'personhood' and 'destiny,' and 'conception of . . . [their] place in society,'” Friedman wrote.

He says the evidence demonstrates that at least 95% of women are certain of their decision, abortion regret is uncommon and abortion does not increase women’s risk of negative mental health outcomes.

The ruling comes amid the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who critics worry could help to weaken or even overturn U.S. abortion rights

The Associated Press contributed to this article.