NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The City of Mount Juliet has agreed to allow a company perform abortions in the city after settling a lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by carafem, a national network of reproductive health care clinics, after the city enacted ordinances that would prevent the clinic from offering abortions.
Carafem originally provided medication abortion care in Mount Juliet, and intended to expand its practice to include surgical abortion. When the city learned of these plans, officials quickly passed a zoning ordinance to obstruct the clinic's ability to provide the care. After the ordinance passed, the law forced carafem to turn many patients away.
A federal judge issued an order in May to prevent the ordinance from being enforced. In granting the injunction, the court ruled that the plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits of their claim, finding that both the purpose and the effect of the ordinance were to create an undue burden on the constitutional rights of women seeking pre-viability surgical abortions.
Following the ruling, the city repealed the ordinance.
On Thursday, the city settled the lawsuit, agreeing to allow carafem to operate anywhere in the city where medical services are permitted.
"City commissioners in Mount Juliet have now wasted taxpayers' money and months in court, in a futile attempt to ban access to abortion," said Andrew Beck, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, in a news release. "Let this be a warning to politicians - especially those in the statehouse in Nashville, whose ban on abortion from the earliest weeks of pregnancy was blocked in court just last month - if you attack your constitutents' constitutional right to abortion, we will see you in court. And we will win."
“The bottom line here is that politicians have no business interfering in people’s personal decisions about pregnancy,” said Thomas H. Castelli, ACLU of Tennessee legal director, in a news release. “City commissioners were very vocal about the fact that they were trying to impose their own political agendas on Tennessee women, without regard for patients’ health or the decisions they had made about the best course for their own lives. Across Tennessee, we will continue to fight back against such unconstitutional attacks on abortion care.”