“Women and girls considering abortion in our state deserve relevant details and adequate time to make fully-informed decisions about the fate of their unborn child,” Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said in a statement. Abortion rights advocates say such waiting periods not only second-guess a woman’s decision, but also over-burden women without the means or time to make it to often-distant abortion clinics.
Many states with waiting periods also require doctors tell women that abortions cannot be coerced, describe the procedure, identify the gestational age of the fetus and inform them of whether the fetus can feel pain.
Most states with waiting periods impose a 24-hour delay, according to data maintained by the Guttmacher Institute. Women in Tennessee and Alabama must now wait 48 hours, while those in four others — Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah — must wait 72 hours. In South Dakota, weekends and holidays do not count toward the state’s waiting period. Missouri makes no exception for rape or incest.
Tennessee’s law goes into effect July 1, while Oklahoma’s becomes official on Nov. 1.