Tennessee sued over law banning adults from helping minors get abortions without parental consent

A legal challenge was filed Monday in an attempt to stop a Tennessee law that would ban adults from helping minors receive an abortion without parental approval.

The complaint, filed in federal court by a state Democratic lawmaker and abortion access activist, claims the law is unconstitutional, according to The Associated Press. The ban goes into effect July 1 and will make Tennessee the second state in the country to enact such a statute.

The challenge came on the second anniversary of the June 24, 2022, Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and gave states the right to make individual laws on abortion access.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Democratic state Rep. Aftyn Behn and Nashville attorney Rachel Welty, who is also a longtime advocate for abortion access.

“Two years ago today, I vowed to aid and abet abortion always, to not give up despite the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and to fight,” Welty said in a statement. “I need to stand up for other advocates around the state who should not have to live in fear of civil or criminal penalties for disseminating information about routine healthcare.”

Tennessee’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a measure earlier this year that made it illegal for an adult to intentionally recruit, harbor or transport a pregnant minor within the state to have an abortion without permission from the girl’s parents.

Anyone convicted of breaking the law would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which requires nearly one year in jail. The law does not include exemptions for minors who may have been raped by their parents, but a biological father who raped his daughter and caused her pregnancy cannot pursue civil action.

The Tennessee statute is similar to the “abortion trafficking” law enacted in Idaho last year. A federal judge has since temporarily blocked Idaho’s law after abortion access activists sued.

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