NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted abortion clinics in Tennessee to continue allowing time-sensitive abortion procedures to happen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court granted this action Friday night, a release stated.
Governor Bill Lee originally issued on April 8 banning all abortion services other than medication abortions (which involve taking pills and are only available until 11 weeks of pregnancy), despite leading national medical groups agreeing that abortion procedures are essential and time-sensitive, according to the release.
“The State has never, at any point in this litigation, attempted to support its policy choice with expert or medical evidence," said the court. "This is unsurprising because, as far as we can tell, every serious medical or public health organization to have considered the issue has said the opposite.”
“This decision sends a clear message to Tennessee: You cannot use a public health crisis to cut off abortion access,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “In the last month, courts across the country have ruled that states cannot use emergency powers to deny women the right to end a pregnancy. It’s time for states to stop exploiting this pandemic.”
“Once again, it’s taken a court fight to stop another governor from exploiting this pandemic to score political points," said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Abortion is time-sensitive, essential health care that cannot wait for a pandemic to pass. Today’s ruling is a sigh of relief for patients.”
“We cannot forget that the essential workers on the front lines of this pandemic are the same people who are disproportionately harmed when access to health care is attacked. We’ll continue to fight these cruel attacks on abortion in Tennessee and across the country.”