Cameron files brief in support of Tenn. abortion waiting-period law

Published 7:05 am Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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Attorney General Daniel Cameron is leading a coalition of 21 state attorneys general, in filing a friend of the court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to allow Tennessee to enforce its abortion waiting-period law, while a lower court reviews the case.

After a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to stop a District Court’s ruling that invalidated Tennessee’s abortion waiting-period law, Tennessee asked the full appellate court to hear the case, and the court agreed to do so.

Since then, Tennessee has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to permit its law to take effect while the Sixth Circuit considers the case. The coalition’s brief supports that request.

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“States have the sovereign authority to enact laws that promote life and protect the health and well-being of pregnant women,” Cameron said. “We filed this brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow Tennessee’s law to stand and to protect the right of each state to regulate abortion.”

In their brief, the coalition argues that many states have adopted waiting-period laws since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Pennsylvania’s abortion waiting-period law in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey nearly 30 years ago. By prohibiting Tennessee from enforcing its law, the Sixth Circuit’s decision runs contrary to that precedent and threatens the legitimacy of numerous waiting-period laws in other states.

The amicus brief, as it is known, also contends that the Sixth Circuit’s ruling disrupts the delicate balance of power between federal and state governments and negates Tennessee’s sovereign power to enact reasonable measures regulating abortion.

Cameron has been joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Caronia, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia in signing the brief.

The lawsuit lists the parties in the case as Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slattery, and the Bristol Regional Women’s Center, of Bristol, Tennessee.