A federal judge on Friday blocked Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's COVID-19 ban on most abortions, saying the state could not limit access to abortions as part of its effort to stop non-emergency procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman ruled that abortion should not be considered a non-emergency procedure because of its potential health risks to women.
"Abortion is a time-sensitive procedure. Delaying a woman's access to abortion even by a matter of days can result in her having to undergo a lengthier and more complex procedure that involves progressively greater health risks, or can result in her losing the right to obtain an abortion altogether."
Friedman also determined that the defendants in favor of banning most abortion procedures did not demonstrate that any amount of personal protective equipment would be saved by foregoing abortion surgeries.
Executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee Hedy Weinberg was pleased with the court's decision.
"The court's decision today ensures that women in Tennessee can continue to make their own decisions about pregnancy and parenting based on what is best for their families. Abortion is time-sensitive essential health care and the COVID-19 crisis cannot be used to prevent women from obtaining abortions."