Bristol Regional Women's Center et al. v. Slatery, et al.
June 25, 2015: Abortion facility owner-operators file suit against Tennessee laws requiring facility inspection, hospital admitting privileges for abortion providers and informed consent provisions for women and girls considering abortion.
The complaint was filed in federal court by operators of Choices abortion facility in Memphis and owners of unlicensed abortion centers in Bristol and Nashville. New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is representing the abortion facilities and Tennessee's Attorney General will defend the constitutionality of the protective laws.
"A lawsuit brought by those who profit from the killing of unborn children should not surprise anyone," said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life.
"These abortion facilities refuse to be held to the same standards as legitimate health care providers and will do everything possible to avoid enforcement of basic health and safety standards for the women and girls entering their facilities.
"It is long past time that Dr. Adams, Dr. Boyle and their chain of abortion centers be held accountable for their unlicensed facilities. The people have spoken in Tennessee and we fully expect that the courts will uphold the constitutionality of the statutes as a legitimate effort to ensure the health and safety of Tennessee's women and girls."
Plaintiff(s): Adams & Boyle, P.C. d/b/a Bristol Regional Women’s Center and The Women’s Center (Nashville), Memphis Center for Reproductive Health d/b/a Choices, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee and Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health.
Defendants: Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General of Tennessee, John Dreyzehner, MD, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health and Michael D. Zanolli, MD, President of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, et al.
Judge: Kevin Sharp (retired April 2017), Bernard Friedman (assigned April 2017)
Status: Closed, Case Number: 3:15-cv-00705, Judge Friedman ruled on October 14, 2020 that the 48-hour waiting period is unconstitutional and permanently enjoined enforcement.
Appeal Status: Open, Case Number: 20-6267 with the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
June 26, 2015: Judge Kevin Sharp places an emergency restraining order on enforcement of the licensure and inspection requirement for two facilities owned and operated in Bristol and Nashville by Drs. Wesley Adams and Gary Boyle.
July 9, 2015: Judge Sharp extends restraining order on enforcement of the licensure and inspection requirement for abortion facilities.
August 10, 2015: Judge Sharp lifts restraining order allowing enforcement of the licensure and inspection requirement for abortion facilities. Plaintiffs file an amended complaint.
August 13, 2015: Federal Judge Kevin Sharp issues an injunction barring district attorneys in Davidson(Nashville) and Sullivan(Bristol) Counties from enforcing the new law that requires that abortion facilities performing 50 or more surgical abortions annually be licensed and inspected by the TN Dept. of Health.
December 16, 2015: Federal Judge Kevin Sharp orders that all proceedings for this court case be stayed (halted) pending the outcome of the US Supreme Court decision in Whole Women's Health vs. Cole. The laws remain in effect except for enforcing the law that requires abortion facilities to be licensed and inspected by the TN Dept. of Health.
April 13, 2017: Tennessee Attorney General, Herbert Slatery, decides that the following laws cannot be defended in court: the law requiring physicians performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital in the county or a neighboring county where the abortion is performed and the law requiring facilities that perform 50 or more abortions per year be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. On April 14, 2017, Judge Bernard Friedman ordered an injunction against enforcing these laws; therefore, they will no longer be enforced.
July 26,2017: Motions filed asking that both Planned Parenthood affiliates and the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health be allowed to join the lawsuit seeking to strike down the 2015 informed consent and 48-hour waiting period law. Abortion providers file a second amended complaint taking aim at the 48 hour waiting period. Motion also filed to remove Dr. Wesley Adams as a plaintiff.
October 14, 2020: With complete disregard for the health and safety of Tennessee's women and unborn children, Senior United States District Judge Bernard A. Friedman permanently enjoined enforcement of Tennessee's 48-hour waiting period.
November 4, 2020: Tennessee Attorney General, Herbert Slatery, files motion with the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for the law to remain in effect while it is appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
February 19, 2021: The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a divided 2-1 decision, rules to deny the State of Tennessee's petition to stay the injunction applied by the Federal District Court of Middle Tennessee against Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period with regard to abortions. Pending further appeal by Attorney General Herbert Slatery or an en banc review, the injunction will remain in effect until the Sixth Circuit decides the case on its merits.
April 9th 2021/: The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a rarely used occurrence, granted the State of Tennessee's petition for an en banc appeal.