The three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday with a lower court decision that blocked a Tennessee law preventing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, and also nixing the procedure if it was used to terminate pregnancies due to a medical diagnosis like Down syndrome.
According to The Hill, the court said it was upholding previous precedents that said laws couldn’t provide “substantial” impediments to women seeking abortions.
“Although this circuit’s recent and alarming decisions have broadened the extent to which the government may impede a person’s constitutional right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term, the law remains clear that if a regulation is a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion, it is invalid,” Senior Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote in the final ruling, as The Hill reported.
”Any decision to overturn the district court’s finding of facts and well-reasoned decision would cast this court in the role of judicial activists,” she added for the majority.
AG to “seek further review”
According to The Hill, Judge Amul R. Thapar, who partially dissented from the opinion, questioned whether Roe v. Wade was ever constitutional in the first place, and said that the court should consider whether the original ruling should have been used to justify abortion access.
The Supreme Court’s framework “cannot be justified under the original meaning of the Constitution. Nor can it be justified under a living constitutional approach,” Thapar wrote.
Tennessee was reportedly sued by numerous activist groups, most notably the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), over the law.
According to The Hill, a spokesperson for the Tennessee attorney general said his office is “disappointed in the Sixth Circuit’s decision and will seek further review.”
“The right to life”
Numerous red states are expected to pass new abortion restrictions now that the Texas fetal heartbeat law has passed a key constitutional test and been allowed to stand. According to The Texas Tribune, the measure will take effect in September.
“Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said upon signing the bill, the Tribune reported.
While Roe v. Wade has not been struck down in any way, the allowance of very strict restrictions has made it very difficult to get abortions in some states, while it is fairly easy in others.
Pro-life proponents are now hopeful that Roe v. Wade can be overturned eventually, and have hailed the Texas law as a “first step” to such an action, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.