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The Latest: Judge hears arguments for abortion wait period

Posted at 3:03 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 15:03:37-04

The Latest on the trial over Tennessee's abortion waiting period. (all times local):

2:53 p.m.

The former medical director of Tennessee's Planned Parenthood clinics says a 48-hour waiting period for abortions actually delays the procedure by up to a month

Dr. Sarah Wallett testified Monday in federal court in a case that challenges Tennessee's 2015 abortion law. Tennessee is one of 14 states with laws requiring women to make two trips to an abortion clinic.

In opening statements, Alex Rieger with the attorney general's office argued that the courts have upheld similar waiting periods. He said the waiting period offers women a chance to change their minds.

Wallett testified the two-visit requirement poses logistical challenges for clinics and patients. She said some patients have to undergo surgical abortions instead of taking a pill because of the delay.


12:15 a.m.

A federal judge is set to hear opening statements in a lawsuit challenging Tennessee's 48-hour waiting period before abortions.

In Nashville, lawyers for five of the state's seven abortion clinics will try Monday to prove the law places an undue burden on women seeking abortions.

Tennessee is one of 14 states with laws requiring women to make two trips to an abortion clinic, first for mandatory counseling and then for the abortion.

Attorneys for the state say the waiting period benefits women by allowing them time to reflect on their decisions.

The clinics say there is little evidence of a benefit to women. They say in court papers that the law has forced some women into second trimester abortions, which have a greater chance of complications.