SCOTUS Abortion Ruling Could Affect Tenn. Laws

Posted at 1:15 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 20:42:52-04

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Texas abortion restrictions could affect the outcome of a federal court challenge to two Tennessee laws.

On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down Texas laws requiring abortion clinics to meet hospital-like standards and requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Similar laws in Tennessee are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit. According to court records, the admitting privileges requirement became law in 2012 and resulted in the closure of two of Tennessee's eight clinics providing surgical abortions.

Of the six remaining clinics, two face possible closure because of strict new clinic standards adopted by the legislature in 2015. They are suing, along with a third clinic.

The lawsuit has been temporarily on hold pending the outcome of the Texas case.

"It could overturn admitting privileges requirements, it could overturn requirements that abortion providing facilities be licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers or outpatient surgical centers," Jeff Teague, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee said of how the Supreme Court ruling could impact Tennessee laws currently being contested in the court system. "Over the next coming months and years I think we're going to see challenges to these burdensome, unnecessary restrictions in states all across the country including here in Tennessee." 

Teague, along with many other pro-choice advocates see Monday's ruling as a big win. "The court has reaffirmed and emphatically said that women in this country have a constitutional right to access safe, legal abortions, and that these kinds of restrictions that are designed solely to make it more difficult to access safe, legal abortions are unconstitutional."