Tennessee’s harsh abortion legislation was halted by a federal court of appeals on Friday, upwards of a year after a district judge ordered a preliminary injunction to keep it from going into effect, Reuters reports.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee approved one of the nation’s strictest abortion laws in July of last year, prohibiting abortion once a fetal heartbeat is found at about six weeks, which is typically before a woman learns she is pregnant.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concurred with the district court’s decision, slamming the law’s provisions as unconstitutional to which they added that they can’t be enforced.
In addition to prohibiting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, the legislation also makes it illegal for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy if the doctor is aware that the patient is considering an abortion because of the fetus’ race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis.
Abortion is one of the most divisive topics in American culture. Religious convictions regarding the sanctity of life are cited by opponents, while abortion rights campaigners argue such limitations deprive women of autonomy over their bodies and futures.
The developments in Tennessee are the most recent episode in the endless battle for reproductive rights in the United States, which is being fought in state legislatures and courts around the country.
President Joe Biden’s administration filed a lawsuit against Texas on Thursday, attempting to stop the state from enforcing a new legislation that effectively bans abortion in the state.
Last Monday, the United States Supreme Court upheld a Texas statute prohibiting termination of pregnancy past six weeks of the gestational period. Even though the judgment did not consider the legality of the Texas law, it was a significant win for social conservatives who have sought to outlaw abortion since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 declared the procedure to be a woman’s constitutional right.