9 Women Across US States File Lawsuits, Demand Their Right To Abort

On September 12, 8 women from Idaho and Tennessee, and one from Oklahoma filed lawsuits challenging abortion restrictions implemented in these states.

Nikita Gupta
Sep 13, 2023 15:46 IST
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On September 12, several women from various parts of the United States took legal action to challenge abortion restrictions implemented in Republican-led states following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year.

Challenging The Law

In Idaho and Tennessee, eight women have filed lawsuits requesting state courts to place temporary holds on their respective states' abortion laws. They pursued legal action after being denied access to abortion services when facing life-threatening pregnancy complications.

These women argue that the restrictive laws endanger their lives. Additionally, four physicians have joined the lawsuits, contending that these state laws unjustly compel medical professionals to weigh a patient's health against the threat of legal consequences.


Furthermore, a woman in Oklahoma, who cited a perilous and nonviable pregnancy, filed a federal lawsuit, asserting that she was denied an abortion despite US legislation that mandates doctors to perform the procedure when it is medically necessary.

Texas Anti-Abortion Lawsuit

The Center for Reproductive Rights, representing these plaintiffs, previously initiated a similar lawsuit in Texas earlier this year. This lawsuit is widely regarded as a blueprint for challenging state anti-abortion laws that lack exceptions for maternal health or fatal fetal anomalies. A recent ruling found the Texas ban overly restrictive, but this injunction has been temporarily blocked as the case proceeds to the Texas Supreme Court on appeal.


Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, commented, "It is evident that by filing that Texas lawsuit, we had merely scratched the surface of a significant issue."

Current Law In Idaho, Tennessee & Oklahoma

It's important to note that, akin to the Texas lawsuit, the complaints in Idaho and Tennessee, contend that these bans violate the constitutional right to life as guaranteed by their respective states' constitutions. They are requesting the state courts to clarify the circumstances under which patients can legally receive an abortion, including cases involving fatal diagnoses. In Oklahoma, the complaint seeks a declaration that federal law supersedes the state's abortion ban.


Currently, in Idaho, performing or attempting to perform an abortion is a criminal offence, carrying a penalty of two to five years in prison. The law also makes it illegal for healthcare professionals to assist in abortion procedures or attempts, with the penalty being the suspension or revocation of their medical licenses.

These legal challenges presented include personal testimonies from women who were denied abortion services and medical professionals who were apprehensive about violating the state's abortion restrictions.

Suggested Reading: Mexico Decriminalises Abortion: A Win For Reproductive Rights

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