Federal judge rules Tennessee abortion law unconstitutional

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period law for abortions is unconstitutional.

Tennessee’s 2015 law requires women to make two trips to an abortion clinic, first for mandatory counseling and then for the abortion at least 48 hours later.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Bernard Freidman found that the law "substantially burdens women seeking an abortion in Tennessee. Friedman also found the state did not show that the law furthers its purported goals.

“Women’s mental and emotional health is not benefited because the mandatory waiting period does nothing to increase the decisional certainty among women contemplating having an abortion. Further, the evidence demonstrates that at least 95% of women are certain of their decisions, post-abortion regret is uncommon, and abortion does not increase women’s risk of negative mental health outcomes,” Friedman wrote.

The ruling comes more than a year after a four-day trial on the law and amid the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who critics worry could help to weaken or even overturn U.S. abortion rights.