Advocates filed an emergency lawsuit in Tennessee this morning, urging the courts to allow women to get abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union and its local Tennessee chapter filed the motion in response to Gov. Bill Lee’s April 8 executive order, which has temporarily banned elective medical procedures during the coronavirus outbreak.
Though women who are less than 11 weeks pregnant can still undergo medication abortions in the state, advocates are worried they won’t have access to surgical abortions while the order is in effect.
“While we must do our part to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19, the actions our state goverment takes must be driven by science and health, not politics,” ACLU of Tennessee Director Hedy Weinberg said in a statement. “The COVID-19 crisis cannot be used to prevent women from obtaining abortions. Abortion is time sensitive and essential, and is not an elective procedure.”
Attorney General Herbert Slatery did not immediately respond to request for comment.