KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Following a federal court allowing Tennessee’s 6-week abortion ban to take effect, two major organizations are speaking out. One organization advocates for abortion rights, while the other said they’re happy about this new ruling.
The action by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes before Tennessee’s abortion trigger laws are set to go into effect following the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Tennessee Right to Life states that they are a pro-life advocacy organization. Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care and has said it will do everything it can to protect abortion access. Both organizations shared their plans on how they plan to move forward with WATE on Tuesday.
“We were thrilled, this is a day we didn’t think would come for a long time. We are grateful to the justices for recognizing the value of life,” said Will Brewer, the Tennessee Right To Life Legal Counsel & Director of Government Relations.
In contrast, Francie Hunt, the Executive Director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood said, “we’re encouraging our folks to reach out to the governor and state legislators in their opposition to the bans that are happening here in the state.”
The bans make performing an abortion a felony and subject doctors to a maximum of 15 years in prison.
“Our first priority now that we’re facing the reality that thousands will have to flee the state for care or forced to carry their pregnancy to term, is to continue our work to reduce the number of untended pregnancies,” Hunt said.
Brewer on the other hand said, “This is a great day; this is a day that we have prepared for. This heartbeat bill, as they call it, was passed in 2020 and makes sure that once a heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into gestation, abortions are prohibited.”
The law only makes an exception when an abortion is necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant person.
Others who seek to get an abortion will have to travel outside of state lines.
“For those in East Tennessee, the closest providers could be in North Carolina or Virginia,” Ashley Coffield, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi said.
“We do have an opposition to companies that are subsidizing these out-of-state abortions,” Brewer stated.
Under this law, reproductive health centers in Tennessee cannot provide abortion pills by mail, and abortion pills by mail cannot be sent to anyone in Tennessee.
Planned Parenthood estimates that around 30,000 patients a year from across the country could be traveling to different states like Illinois to seek an abortion.
Those with Tennessee Right to Life said there’s nothing they can do to stop people from traveling out of state. However, they are advocating to help people find alternative resources to abortion, like adoption.