NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Center for Reproductive Rights filed lawsuits in three states, including Tennessee, Tuesday on behalf of multiple women who said they were denied abortions despite “dangerous pregnancy complications.”
The three women in Tennessee claim doctors refused to perform abortions out of fear of punishment under Tennessee’s abortion ban, which was enacted on Aug. 25, 2022, about two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Tennessee’s ban has exemptions for medical emergencies, but the lawsuit argues it’s so vague that some doctors are afraid to perform abortions. In one example, a woman said her baby had a “lethal anomaly,” but she still had to carry the baby for months.
The woman said that resulted in “grave risks” to her own health, and she reportedly ended up giving birth to a stillborn baby. All eight women mentioned in the lawsuits said they experienced similar complications.
They are asking a judge to clarify what qualifies as a medical emergency, and argue that without clarification, pregnant people have to either flee the state for an abortion or wait until they’re “on the brink of death” to get the care they need.
Additional legal actions were filed in Idaho and Oklahoma, where abortion was also banned following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. These filings come a few months after 13 women sued the state of Texas for being denied abortion care despite facing similar complications.
A judge in that case recently ruled that all of the women should have been given abortions and clarified the scope of the exceptions to Texas’s abortion bans, although the ruling has been appealed by the state and is now on hold.