Reproductive Rights CenterA legal advocacy group filed legal complaints in three Republican-led states on behalf of eight women who were denied medically necessary abortion care.
Lawsuits were filed in Tennessee, Idaho and Oklahoma. The doctors, who are also listed as plaintiffs, argue that their states’ laws put them at risk of legal liability.
The lawsuits come after the group filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of 13 women in Texas earlier this year.
In that suit, a Texas judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but the state appealed the decision, causing the case to be put on hold. Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that since she filed the lawsuit, she has received many calls from women with similar stories.
“It’s clear that by filing suit in Texas, it hit the tip of a very large iceberg,” Northup said.
Nicole Blackmon, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Tennessee, said Tennessee’s law forced her to give birth to a stillborn baby in 2022.
“That law forced me for many months to carry a child that could never survive and could easily kill me,” Blackmon said. “I should have been able to get an abortion in Tennessee and protect my health.”
During a press conference, Blackmon said that at 15 weeks pregnant she was told her baby would likely not survive. Then at 24 weeks, she was told her baby’s organs were not forming normally. She had to choose between waiting to get an abortion or leaving the state.
“We did the math and figured out that even with financial aid, the trip would cost thousands of dollars,” Blackmon said. “I was forced to continue a disastrous pregnancy.”
News of her pregnancy came just months after her 14-year-old son was killed in a drive-by shooting while they lived in Alabama.
“What we endured was torture that no one else should have to endure,” Blackmon said.
Tennessee’s abortion ban is one of the strictest in the country. Earlier this year, spurred by the protests, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an exception into law that allows doctors to use their “reasonable medical” judgment about providing an abortion to save a pregnant patient’s life. Gives the ability to do.
However, health care officials said the added exception did not go far enough. Doctors in other states with similar exceptions agree.
“Unfortunately, the way these laws were written without any medical input in almost all cases, you know, it’s not medical terminology, it doesn’t cover which conditions are considered serious enough and which are not. , so the onus is on the physicians,” said Emily Corrigan, a physician involved in the Dr. Idaho lawsuit.
In a statement, the president of Tennessee Right to Life said: “While we have deep sympathy for the plaintiffs and the experiences they have endured, we remain confident in its constitutionality.” Human Life Protection Act “And we are confident in (Tennessee Attorney) General (Jonathan) Scarmetti’s ability to defend this case on behalf of women and unborn children in this state.”
Like the Texas lawsuit, the center is not challenging states’ abortion restrictions, but rather seeking clarification on who can legally obtain an abortion.