WASHINGTON—The state of Tennessee asked the Supreme Court Monday to reinstate a 48-hour waiting period imposed on women seeking abortions, after lower courts found it unconstitutional.
Tennessee asked the high court to reimpose the restriction while it appeals a 136-page opinion from a federal judge in Nashville, who found that the restriction imposed an undue burden on women’s right to end pregnancy, the standard the Supreme Court applies under a 1992 precedent known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
“Although fourteen other States have similar waiting-period laws that generally require two trips to an abortion provider, Tennessee is the only State in the Nation that cannot enforce its law because of a federal judicial decree,” Tennessee said in its filing.
Last October, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman found the waiting period “burdens the majority of abortion patients with significant, and often insurmountable, logistical and financial hurdles” because it requires two visits to the clinic. Most women in the state who seek abortions are poor, and often must travel significant distances to reach one of the four Tennessee clinics, he found. Taking time off from work, arranging child care and other necessary steps can make obtaining the procedure prohibitive, Judge Friedman found.
Tennessee’s filing said that the waiting period had been in effect for some five years before Judge Friedman’s ruling, during which time the state abortion rate “declined only slightly” and remained above 10,000 procedures annually.
Source: WSJ – US News