A Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Tennessee can protect more vulnerable children by enforcing its ban on abortions specifically because the unborn baby has Down syndrome or based on its race or sex.
Earlier this year, Governor Bill Lee signed a broad pro-life law to protect unborn babies from abortions once their heartbeats are detectable, usually within six weeks. It also includes other levels of restriction going up from eight weeks to 24 weeks of pregnancy, which would go into effect depending on what a court may strike down. The bill also bans discriminatory abortions based on the unborn baby’s sex, race or a Down syndrome diagnosis and includes informed consent measures. It requires abortion facilities to inform women about the abortion pill reversal procedure and the size and gestational age of their unborn babies and requires them to allow the mother to hear her unborn baby’s heartbeat and see the baby on an ultrasound. It allows exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk. Abortionists who violate these bans could face felony charges.
After Tennessee approved the bill, abortion activists immediately took it to court. The law was immediately blocked by a lower federal court just hours after Governor Lee signed it into law.
However, now the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling stating that the ban on abortions because a baby has Down syndrome or is of a certain race or sex can be enforced while the rest of the lawsuit against the remaining portions of the law continues.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, along with the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and others. The plaintiffs argued that “they will suffer immediate and irreparable injury, harm, loss, or damage if injunctive relief is not granted pending a preliminary injunction hearing.”
However, the 11-page ruling by the appeals court stated that plaintiffs “have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their vagueness challenges to Section 217… On the other hand, the district court’s preliminary injunction of Section 217 ‘subjects [the state] to ongoing irreparable harm.’”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “It is just a matter of time before the terrible 1973 abortion travesty from the Supreme Court is overturned. This is a step in that direction to save innocent children from a brutal abortion death.”