(REVISED 2.24.2022) – In this case, the Center challenged a Tennessee bill that aims to prevent abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy and prevents pregnant people from obtaining abortion care for certain reasons, including related to sex, race, or in the case of fetal abnormalities. These “reason bans” imply that pregnant people cannot be trusted to make their own health decisions and do nothing to address racism, sexism, and ableism as it’s experienced by marginalized communities.
This bill comes just two months after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order prohibiting “non-emergency” care, including surgical abortions, from being performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Abortion care is both essential and time-sensitive. The order was blocked after the Center challenged it in court.
Tennessee has a number of abortion restrictions on the books, including a 48-hour mandatory waiting period; a requirement that patients make an additional, medically unnecessary trip to the clinic to receive state-mandated information; limitations on when state and public insurance can cover abortion services; and a requirement that minors receive parental content prior to obtaining an abortion.
Plaintiffs: Adams & Boyle P.C., Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health, Dr. Kimberly Looney
Center Attorneys: Jessica Sklarsky, Rabia Muqaddam, Jen Rasay
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Scott P. Tift, David W. Garrison, Thomas C. Jesse, Michelle J. Dell, Jason M. Moff, Irene Weintraub, Timur Tusiray, Catherine Hoge, Maithreyi Ratakonda, Julia Kaye
Summary: On June 19, 2020, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill that bans abortion in the state as early as six weeks and prevents pregnant people from seeking abortion for certain reasons, including for reasons related to sex, race, and fetal abnormalities. The Center immediately filed an emergency lawsuit to block the bill from taking effect. Gov. Bill Lee signed the law into effect on July 13 and moments later a lower court issued a temporary restraining order. On July 24, the trial court issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the bans while the lawsuit proceeded. The State filed an appeal of the preliminary injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The State also filed a motion asking the appellate court to stay the injunction with respect to the reason bans while the appeal is pending, which was granted. We filed a new request with the trial court to block the reason bans while the case proceeds, which was denied. Following oral argument, the Sixth Circuit upheld the preliminary injunction on September 10, once again blocking the reason bans and affirming the decision to block the six-week abortion ban. On September 23, the State filed a petition for rehearing en banc in front of the full appellate court. On December 1, the Sixth Circuit granted the request for rehearing en banc. The State filed a new request to again stay the injunction with respect to the reason bans while the appeal is pending, which was granted February 2, 2022.
- 02.02.2022 Sixth Circuit Order Granting Renewed Motion for Partial Stay of Preliminary Injunction
- 12.13.2021 Plaintiffs’-Appellees’ Opposition to Renewed Motion for Partial Stay of Preliminary Injunction
- 10.26.2021 Plaintiffs’-Appellees’ Opposition to Motion for Rehearing En Banc
- 9.10.2021 Sixth Circuit Opinion Affirming Preliminary Injunction
- 12.22.2020 Brief of Disability Advocates as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.22.2020 Brief of Constitutional Law Scholars as Amicus Curiae in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.22.2020 Brief of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law as Amicus Curiae in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.22.2020 Brief of Amici Curiae SisterReach and Eleven Other Reproductive Justice and Health Organizations in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.22.2020 Brief of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Japanese American Citizens League as Amici Curiae in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.22.2020 Brief of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine as Amici Curiae in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.22.2020 Brief of States as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.22.2020 Brief of Amicus Curiae Information Society Project at Yale Law School in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 12.15.2020 Brief of Plaintiffs-Appellees
- 11.20.2020 Sixth Circuit Order Granting Partial Stay of Preliminary Injunction
- 07.24.2020 Memorandum Opinion Granting Preliminary Injunction
- 07.13.2020 Temporary Restraining Order
- 06.22.2020 Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction
- 06.19.2020 Complaint
Read More About the Case:
- 06.19.2020 Tennessee Abortion Ban Immediately Challenged in Court by the Center for Reproductive Rights, ACLU, and Planned Parenthood
- 07.24.2020 Federal Court Blocks Tennessee Abortion Bans
- 11.20.2020 Court Lets Part of Tennessee Abortion Ban Take Effect
- 09.10.2021 Appeals Court Blocks Tennessee Abortion Bans