Tennessee women denied abortions despite life-threatening pregnancy complications, lawsuit says
The lawsuit alleges the impact of the state’s ban on abortions has “imperiled” the lives of pregnant Tennesseans and challenged the ability of doctors in the state to provide them with the necessary standard of care.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A lawsuit has been filed by abortion rights groups on behalf of women in Tennessee who were denied abortions despite having dangerous pregnancy complications.
The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, claims that several women and “countless others” have been denied necessary and potentially life-saving medical care because doctors fear the penalties imposed by Tennessee’s “near-total” abortion ban.
The suit was filed against the state of Tennessee, Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners and President of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners Melanie Blake.
It alleges that the impact of the state’s ban on abortions has “imperiled” the lives of pregnant Tennesseans and challenged the ability of doctors in the state to provide them with the necessary standard of care.
The suit explains, in great detail, the ban’s negative impacts and complications on several women, doctors and their patients, along with other pregnant patients and Tennesseans of reproductive age. It also details the consequences for people in other states whose governments have banned abortion.
The suit laid out additional allegations listed below:
- Abortion is essential health care
- Some pregnancies pose emergent medical risks to pregnant people’s lives and health
- Pregnancy risks are greater for people of color
- Tennessee’s abortion ban impedes the delivery of essential healthcare
- Tennessee’s medical condition exception
- Physician discretion under the medical condition exception
- Tennessee’s abortion ban impacts all reproductive healthcare in Tennessee
- The Tennessee Constitution protects pregnant people with emergent medical conditions and their physicians from state deprivation of their rights
- Pregnant Tennesseans have fundamental and equal rights under the Tennessee Constitution
- Tennessee-licensed physicians have liberty and property rights to provide care to pregnant people with emergent conditions
- Tennessee-licensed physicians cannot be prosecuted under a vague statute that fails to provide proper notice of prohibited conduct and invites arbitrary enforcement
The suit seeks the following claims for relief:
- Declaratory judgement
- “Declaratory judgment is a remedy designed to settle and afford relief from uncertainty and insecurity with respect to rights, status, and other legal relations. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-14-113, the declaratory judgment statute is to be liberally construed and administered.”
- Right to life of pregnant people under the Tennessee Constitution
- Right to equal protection of pregnant people under the Tennessee Constitution
- Physicians’ rights to due process under the Tennessee Constitution
You can read the lawsuit in its entirety below:
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