The ACLU, along with the ACLU of Tennessee and ACLU of Tennessee, and the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, is bringing suit against the city of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee ver a zoning ordinance that bans the provision of surgical abortion care within the city limits.
The challenge is being brought in federal court on behalf of carafem, a national network of reproductive health care clinics. Carafem currently provides medication abortion care in Mt. Juliet, and intended to expand its practice to include surgical abortion. When the city learned of these plans, municipal officials quickly passed a zoning ordinance to directly obstruct the clinic’s ability to provide the care. The law has already forced carafem to turn patients away who are not candidates for medication abortion, and will push abortion care out of reach for yet more Tennesseans if the law is not struck down.
Mt. Juliet officials have been clear that the sole reason for passing this ordinance was to stop people who have decided to have an abortion from being able to get one. In a statement to local news, City Commissioner Brian Abston explained: “I realize they have rights, but my constituents and I don’t want it here.” Another city commissioner, Ray Justice, said “The members of the commission I have talked to are 100 percent behind shutting this abomination down… This is not Mt. Juliet. This is not us.”