Medical Technology

US Appeals Court to Hear Tennessee Abortion Ban Argument

NASHVILLE (TNN) — A federal appeals court indicated that it could be open to allowing another restricting ban to go into effect just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court had dismissed the landmark abortion case.

In the spring of this year, a three-judge panel on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily stopped the ban on abortions in Tennessee once cardiac activity is observed in an embryo- at around six weeks. But on Wednesday night the appeals court announced it would reverse the decision and instead set a date for a rehearing before the full court.

While the law of the state will remain on pause because of a lower court ruling, the move marked yet another swift turn in the ongoing fight over abortion access that is currently being fought within the judicial system of the country.

In 2020, Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed one of the most strict anti-abortion legislations in the United States at the time. The law prohibited abortions at six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant. It also banned abortions caused by Down syndrome or because of the race of the fetus.

Reproductive rights groups representing clinics across Tennessee have filed suit against the state, and U.S. District Judge William L. Campbell stopped the law almost immediately after Lee signed it.

Although the 6th Circuit ruled that the banned referred to as the reasons ban could be in effect in late 2020, based on its terms but the federal panel reversed its decision and reversed its decision in September.

Judge Amul R. Thaper, who at the time dissented, also addressed abortion in general terms, writing that “the courts ought to restore this choice to the American people — where they are.”

Thapar wrote that “the state legislatures are able to accomplish what we cannot: listen to the community and develop rules that are based on facts, with appropriate exemptions, gather more evidence, and update their laws if they’re not working correctly.” “And If the public is not happy, it can fight back by voting.”

The 6th Circuit has not yet scheduled an rehearing.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court justices are considering whether to uphold Mississippi’s ban against abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It will take months before a decision is made , and the court may even overturn the universal right of abortion that has been in place for almost 50 years.

Tennessee is among the states that have laws that would make abortion almost illegal in the event that the court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion in the United States. It also received its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This ruling reaffirmed Roe.

“Allowing Mississippi’s ban stand will erase more than fifty years of precedent and lead almost immediately to abortion bans in Tennessee and Mississippi,” stated Ashley Coffield in an email.

“Already the courts are getting ready to allow a strict abortion ban to be implemented — including Tennessee’s currently blocked ban (ban), which was re-examined by the entire 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in anticipation of the Roe decision,” she said.

On the other hand on the other hand, the Supreme Court could uphold the Mississippi law without ruling against Roe, said Suzzana Sherry, a professor of law at Vanderbilt University.

“I cannot imagine a court ruling that a suspension of six weeks is not an excessive burden,” she said.

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The Medical Progress

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