Tennessee has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate its two-day waiting period to obtain abortions in the state.
The filing on Tuesday argues that a district court injunction against the state’s law runs afoul of Supreme Court precedent, in which the justices have ruled that a waiting period is legal. The injunction has been in place for five months.
“Tennessee’s waiting-period law is hardly unique. Fourteen other states have similar laws that impose waiting periods of 18 to 72 hours and generally require two trips to an abortion provider,” the state wrote in its court filing.
The 2015 law required abortion providers to give patients information about an abortion 48 hours before performing the procedure. The information had to be provided in person.
A group of abortion providers challenged the law, saying it burdened a pregnant person’s right to obtain an abortion.
The district court sided with the providers after holding a trial — and after the law had been enforced for roughly five years. The lower court reasoned that the state’s restriction delayed abortions and made it more expensive for pregnant people to obtain them.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also refused to lift the lower court’s injunction, finding that the state law “appears to be yet another unnecessary, unjustified, and unduly burdensome state law that stands between women and their right to an abortion.”
Tennessee argued its law has not impacted abortion, noting the number of abortions has declined only slightly in the state and saying there’s no evidence of a link to the waiting period.
“Undisputed evidence at trial established that more than 10,000 abortions were performed in Tennessee each year both before and after the waiting period took effect,” the state argued.
The request to lift the injunction while the case is appealed was presented to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, who oversees filings from the 6th Circuit, which includes legal challenges out of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Justice Kavanaugh can act on the request alone or present it to the other eight justices for consideration.
A lawyer for the women’s clinic involved in the legal battle did not immediately return a request for comment about the state’s request to the high court.
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