May 26, 2015
"Will a 48-Hour Wait for Abortion in Tennessee Hold up in Court?" Robin Marty, Care2: Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has signed into law a new mandatory delay measure (SB 1222) that "forc[es] a patient seeking out an abortion to make two separate clinic visits at least 48 hours apart," Marty writes. Marty notes that the law is the "first attempt to test" a new amendment to the state constitution, which "states that Tennessee does not recognize a right to an abortion, a change that abortion opponents hope will now allow legislative restrictions on the procedure to stand up in court." Further, antiabortion-rights lawmakers in the state have planned for the possibility that the 48-hour delay could be blocked by a court challenge, Marty notes, explaining that lawmakers added "a trigger into the legislation that would immediately scale the 48 hour wait into a 24 hour one, a requirement that has already been upheld by the courts and so would be unlikely to be enjoined." Marty writes that, "In all likelihood, as of July 1, Tennessee as a state will mandate two trips to an abortion clinic, with appointments at least 24 hours apart if not more." She notes that the law would be a "massive encumbrance not just to the people of Tennessee seeking terminations, but [also to] those in Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas and other surrounding states who ... go to Tennessee" for abortion care (Mary, Care2, 5/20).