Federal Judges Block Heartbeat Bills in Tennessee and Georgia

Earlier this week, Tennessee governor Bill Lee signed a “heartbeat bill” prohibiting abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The law makes Tennessee one of a dozen states to have enacted such a bill, most of which were signed at some point last year.

But less than an hour after the law took effect in Tennessee, a federal judge blocked it, issuing a temporary restraining order against the policy in response to a lawsuit from the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Plaintiffs have demonstrated they will suffer immediate and irreparable injury, harm, loss, or damage if injunctive relief is not granted pending a preliminary injunction hearing,” wrote U.S. district judge William L. Campbell.

“The Act will immediately impact patients seeking abortions and imposes criminal sanctions on abortion providers,” Campbell added. “The time-sensitive nature of the procedure also weighs in favor of injunctive relief pending a preliminary injunction hearing.”