Federal Court strikes down ordinance banning surgical abortions in Mt. Juliet


Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Federal Court issued an order preliminarily blocking a zoning ordinance passed by the city of Mt. Juliet that would ban surgical abortions within the city limits.  

The ACLU, ACLU of Tennessee, and the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP filed the case on behalf of Carafem Health Center in Mt. Juliet. The center currently provides medication abortions and had plans to add surgical abortions. Once the city learned about those plans, they passed a zoning ordinance prohibiting the clinic from providing that care, according to the ACLU.  

In its ruling, the court wrote:

“In the United States, individuals are generally free to oppose the practice of abortion, hope that women do not choose to have an abortion, work towards minimizing the frequency of abortion in the community, hope for a change in the Supreme Court’s substantive due process jurisprudence regarding abortion, and so forth. And states and municipalities can impose relatively broad post-viability restrictions on abortion rights, as well as pre-viability restrictions that do not amount to what precedential case law has called or would call an undue burden. But under that undue burden standard, states and municipalities cannot do what, based on the current record, the City likely did here: enact an ordinance (as amended) that had the purpose, and alternatively the effect, of placing a substantial obstacle in the way of women seeking abortions (including pre-viability abortions) in Mt. Juliet.” 

A statement from the ACLU can be found here.

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