The American Civil Liberties Union is staying "mum" about whether it would sue over new abortion regulations moving through the state legislature. The Tennessee Senate approved three regulations Wednesday, months after voters passed an amendment giving the legislature more power to restrict the procedure.
The bills would require women wait 48 hours between seeing a doctor and having an abortion; abortion clinics become licensed surgical centers; and doctors give women specific and detailed information before the procedure.
Before Amendment 1 passed last November, these regulations would have been struck down in court. Even now, lawmakers have been wary of passing stricter regulations that might get caught up in legal battles.
“The goal is not to push the legal envelope, but rather to pass a statute that can be enforceable on day one," said Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), who proposed one of the bills.
If lawmakers did push the legal envelope, one group to sue the state would likely be the ACLU — it’s sued over abortion laws in the past. But Tennessee director Hedy Weinberg wouldn't say whether it's considering legal action.
“If you were to file a lawsuit, would this be the year to do it, or would you wait for future years?” I asked.
“No comment," Weinberg said.