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AG agrees Tennessee will stop enforcing 2 abortion limits

Posted April 13

— Tennessee's attorney general has agreed that the state will drop two abortion limits similar to Texas laws struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to federal court filings Thursday.

One of the requirements mandated that abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges. The other forced abortion clinics to meet hospital-level surgical standards.

The Supreme Court struck down similar Texas laws in June 2016.

The Tennessee lawsuit was brought by three abortion clinics: the Bristol Regional Women's Center, The Women's Center in Nashville and the Memphis Center for Reproductive Health. The Tennessee case was on hold since December 2015 while awaiting the Supreme Court ruling.

The court documents said stopping enforcement will avoid the added costs and resources of continued litigation.

The state will continue to defend another restriction that requires counseling and a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

"Our pleading acknowledges last year's Supreme Court decision on similar issues," said attorney general spokesman Harlow Sumerford. "However, we want the court to address the remaining issues not previously presented to the Supreme Court."

Tennessee's admitting privileges requirement became law in 2012, while the strict new clinic standards were adopted by the legislature in 2015.

Republican Rep. Susan Lynn of Mt. Juliet, who sponsored the bill calling for the tougher clinic standards, said she was extremely disappointed. She said she still has to read the court filing, but is willing to change the bill and try to get it passed it again.

"I will certainly read it and consult with attorneys, and see what we can do," Lynn said.

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