ATLANTA, GA —Today, Attorney General Chris Carr joined a coalition of 21 states in support of the constitutionality of a Tennessee law requiring a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion.

“Tennessee’s law is constitutional,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “It protects the lives of the unborn and the health of mothers. We joined this effort because the district court’s misapplication of the law could have far-reaching implications.”

Last month, a divided panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit declined to lift a District Court’s injunction against Tennessee’s waiting period law.  Judge Amul Thapar dissented from that decision and called on the full court to immediately review the decision. Subsequently, Tennessee requested that the full court review the decision, and the coalition’s amicus brief supports that request.

The coalition argues that the Sixth Circuit’s decision casts doubt on the governing rule from the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo, which is used to review the legality of abortion laws throughout the country. The Sixth Circuit applied this same rule last year in a decision to uphold Kentucky’s transfer agreement law, requiring that abortion clinics have a transfer agreement in place with a local hospital and ambulance provider.  The amicus brief states that the Sixth Circuit ignored this important precedent when applying the rule to Tennessee’s abortion waiting period law.

The brief also argues that both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit have upheld similar laws against constitutional challenges, and if the full court does not reconsider this decision, this precedent will be jeopardized. 

At this stage, Tennessee is awaiting an order from the full court about whether it will consider the case.  Kentucky and Louisiana co-led the brief. Georgia joined the following states in support: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.