Federal Judge issues TRO against Tennessee law requiring women know about abortion pill reversal

By Dave Andrusko

Back in September we reposted about a lawsuit brought by abortion proponents against a Tennessee’s omnibus pro-life bill. 

It was heard by an overly sympathetic U.S. District Court Judge William Campbell. Last Friday Judge Campbell preliminarily enjoined part of the law — an informed consent provision requiring “that abortion clinics post a sign in the waiting room and in patient rooms informing people that it may be possible to reverse a chemical abortion.” 

“Once again, the voters of Tennessee have been silenced as Judge Campbell has enjoined a newly enacted law that would inform women that there is a method available to them to possibly reverse the abortion pill,” said Stacy Dunn, President of Tennessee Right to Life. “Judge Campbell was made aware of the success of this medical technique and, still, had the audacity to call the law ‘misleading.’”

Dunn added, “The work that pro-life Tennesseans and their duly elected officials have done to protect women and their unborn children is under attack by the abortion industry. Judge Campbell’s decision plays right into the hands of those who want to keep women in the dark about their unborn children and all the options available to them.”

He had initially issued a temporary restraining order.

Judge Campbell’s accompanying memorandum explaining why there would be “irreparable harm” was based on an odd argument. 

He wrote, according to the Tennessean’s Mariah Timms, that 

“This ‘reversal’ message is likely to mislead patients into believing they can begin the two-step process, and still save their pregnancies if they change their mind later,” he wrote in a memorandum on Friday’s order. “But it is undisputed that a portion of patients who change their mind will not be able to save their pregnancies.

But no one has ever suggested that every woman who does not take the second of two drugs–and instead take progesterone– will be able to save her baby. However more than 2,000 babies have already been saved, because a woman acted quickly after taking the first drug (mifepristone), according to Heartbeat International.

Here is a summary of the other provisions of the law, signed in July 2020 by pro-life Gov. Bill Lee, as explained the Tennessean’s Natalie Allison.

 Abortions are banned except to save the mother’s life

  • If the doctor knows that the woman is seeking an abortion because of the child’s sex or race.
  • If the doctor knows the woman is seeking an abortion due to  a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
  • After the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected
  • For juveniles in custody of the Department of Children’s Services, including removing the current option to petition a judge for permission.

If the six-week ban is stricken, the legislation goes on to “automatically enact abortion bans at eight, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 weeks of gestation,” according to Allison.