Mid-South reaction to Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion rights

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 7:14 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Reaction continues to pour in after a bombshell Supreme Court draft opinion leaked Monday night.

It suggested a majority of Justices are in favor of overturning abortion rights across the country.

Such a decision would have huge implications for women in the Mid-South.

“I think we knew this day would come, it’s just still very shocking,” said Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. “We are most likely facing the end of safe and legal abortion in the United States and the time to make your voice heard is now.”

All three Mid-South states have so-called “trigger laws” on the books that would ban most abortions, if the court overturns Roe.

Doctors who perform or attempt to perform an abortion could face up to 10 years in prison in Arkansas and Mississippi and up to 15 years in Tennessee.

The women themselves would not face charges.

State records show a third of all abortions in Tennessee take place at the two abortion providers in Shelby County.

If abortion is outlawed, women seeking an abortion in Memphis would have to travel three hours to southern Illinois to find the nearest abortion provider.

“So losing these providers here in Shelby County will have a huge impact,” said Coffield.

While pro-choice groups are devastated by the Supreme Court’s draft opinion, pro-life groups are rejoicing.

“We are very excited if the court is going to move forward with this decision,” said Steve Coplon, the CEO of Life Choices Memphis, a pro-life medical provider that encourages women to go through with their pregnancies. “We hope that this is a moment. One of those moments where we can all take a deep breath and say, Lord, what is it you’re saying to us? And the Lord is saying, choose life, choose life.”

In Tennessee and Arkansas, abortion would be outlawed in 30 days if the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

In Mississippi, it would be outlawed in 10 days.

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