The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the state of Tennessee's petition for an en banc appeal of an earlier decision by the Appeals Court to uphold the injunction against Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period with regard to abortions.
The en banc appeal will allow for the full panel of judges to decide on the merits of the case instead of the usual three-judge panel. In February, a panel of three judges upheld an injunction against the enforcement of the waiting period granted by the Federal District Court of Middle Tennessee. The state Attorney General then petitioned the Sixth Circuit to have the full panel review that three-judge decision in hopes of overruling it.
On Friday, the court announced that the majority of its judges decided to grant the appeal.
Earlier this week, in another appellate maneuver, the Attorney General also petitioned for an emergency stay from the injunction from the U.S. Supreme Court and is currently awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.
Tennessee passed the 48-hour waiting period law in 2015. On June 25, 2015, abortion facility owner-operators filed suit against the Tennessee law. The complaint was filed in federal court by operators of Choices abortion facility in Memphis and owners of unlicensed abortion centers in Bristol and Nashville. New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is representing the abortion facilities and Tennessee's Attorney General is defending the constitutionality of the protective laws.
The waiting period law was allowed to remain in effect during the court challenge from 2015 to October 14, 2020 when with complete disregard for the health and safety of Tennessee's women and unborn children, Senior United States District Judge Bernard A. Friedman permanently enjoined enforcement of Tennessee's 48-hour waiting period.