The 2021 Tennessee Legislative session is finally over, leaving a trail of disastrous results for people in Tennessee. Whether it’s regarding reproductive freedom and autonomous bodily decision-making, children and families, Covid-19 relief or hate-filled legislation towards our transgender community, they left no stone unturned with their regressive punitive agenda.
In our arena, in the long term ongoing battle with the state regarding the 48 hour waiting period, in October 2020 the court gave a stay for our injunction, eliminating the 48 hour waiting period. The state appealed to the court for a rarely used procedure, known as an en banc session, to require the entire court to decide on the injunction stay rather than the usual 1 judge or panel of judges. The state knows that it has anti-abortion support from many of the judges in the court and so requested this session to overturn the previous judges decisions to uphold the injunction until the case is heard in court. So, the 48 hour waiting is back in effect in clinics across Tennessee requiring women to make 2 on-site visits to receive abortion services.
On another vindictive front, the Tn. legislature passed a law stating that embryonic and fetal tissue remains from aspiration abortions would have to be cremated or buried at cost to the clinics. This “protection of human dignity” law curiously only applies selectively to abortion facilities, not other facilities that also have fetal remains, (such as hospitals and fertility clinics), clearly indicating this law has nothing to do with respect and dignity but everything to do with passing on onerous, unnecessary restrictions and costs to abortion facilities. Wouldn’t it be nice if they really did respect and care about the dignity of living human beings? Everything in this legislative session highlights the Tennessee legislature’s hypocrisy and failure to respect Tennessee families and individuals.
And the latest blow (and by far the scariest) comes from the announcement this week that the SCOTUS will take on the 15 week ban court challenge by Mississippi. These gestational bans intent, occurring across the country, particularly in southern Republican-controlled states, has been such: to bring a case before the stacked anti-abortion dominated Supreme Court to finally challenge the law of the land, Roe vs Wade, which establishes viability as the point beyond which an abortion cannot be performed.
So hang on to our hats folks. The case will not be heard until October 2021 with a decision not expected until June 2022. The prospects are depressingly dismal given the Court’s 6-3 composition. And if they uphold the 15 week ban, then the cascade of state bills passed with lower and lower age bans will be brought before the Court until they essentially make abortion illegal…or the composition of the court is seriously challenged.
SO ANOTHER BLUE TSUNAMI will be needed in the 2022 elections to gain even better control of the U.S. House and Senate to protect crucial decisions on all fronts from the hands of those that profess smaller government but aggressively act to oppress people.