In a stunning defeat for pro-life Americans, five Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have struck down common-sense safeguards passed by the Texas Legislature to protect the health and welfare of women and girls considering abortion. The provisions are similar to those recently enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly and include a requirement that abortion providers hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (2012) and that abortion facilities be inspected and licensed as other out-patient surgical centers (2015.)
Tennessee's similar policies requiring admitting privileges and facility standards were challenged in 2015 by Dr. Gary Boyle and Dr. Wesley Adams, owner-operators of two unlicensed abortion facilities in Bristol and Nashville. The licensure and inspection requirement was stayed by U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp but other challenged laws are currently enforced throughout the state including informed consent and 48-hour waiting period for women and girls considering abortion and the required admitting privileges for abortion providers.
The Tennessee case had been placed on hold pending outcome of the Texas case at the U.S. Supreme Court. It is now anticipated that the case will be brought forward and considered in light of today's pro-abortion ruling. A separate challenge of pro-life Amendment 1 has also been heard by Judge Kevin Sharp and, following his ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood plaintiffs, is on appeal to the U.S. Sixth Circuit.
Tennessee Right to Life responded to today's ruling saying, "This setback is certain to have implications for the efforts of pro-life Tennesseans to protect the lives of unborn children and the health and safety of abortion-vulnerable women and girls," said Brian Harris, President of Tennessee Right to Life. "But no group of citizens is more committed and capable of fighting for a just cause than Tennessee's pro-life legislators and grassroots advocates."
"We will review the court's decision and continue to pursue every opportunity to ensure that one day, the policies of Tennessee fully affirm the dignity and value of every human life," Harris said.