[JURIST] Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam [official website] on Monday signed into a law a bill requiring a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. Those physicians who neglect to follow new rules on what to tell their patients during the counseling are at risk of having their medical licenses revoked in addition to receiving misdemeanor or felony charges. The new rules, which take effect July 1, would make Tennessee one of 27 states to require some form of abortion waiting period, although more states may soon be added to the list as legislatures begin adopting similar measures. Proponents of the new rule say it is meant to protect the health and welfare of women, in addition to the protection of unborn children and give women more time to consider abortion alternatives. Abortion rights advocates say the law represents a violation of a woman’s right to an abortion.
Abortion waiting periods and reproductive rights issues [JURIST backgrounder] have been heated topics throughout the US. Earlier this month Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin [official website] signed House Bill 1409 into law extending the mandatory [JURIST report] waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. In April Alabama state representative Teri Collins proposed a bill to ban abortion [JURIST report] once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Also in April Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] signed a bill [press release] that bans all forms of dismemberment abortion unless necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. In March Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill [JURIST report] that requires abortion providers in the state to tell women that they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion, in addition to barring women from buying any healthcare plan through the federal marketplace that includes coverage for abortions. Also in March the West Virginia Legislature overrode [JURIST report] the state governor’s veto, passing a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks.