Skip to main content

Bristol Regional Women’s Center v. Slatery

Description:  The Bristol Regional Women’s Center is challenging a 2015 Tennessee law protecting women and requiring a waiting period before abortions can be procured. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar waiting period in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.


Tennessee state flag

Pro-life medical association to appeals court: TN’s law protecting women deserves to stand

ADF attorneys file friend-of-the-court brief in favor of state law ensuring women have critical health information
Wednesday, Feb 17, 2021

CINCINNATI – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a pro-life medical association filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to reverse a federal district court decision ruling unconstitutional a 2015 Tennessee law protecting women. The brief, filed on behalf of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, explains that the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld similar laws requiring a waiting period before abortions can be procured.

The brief argues that the district court ignored binding court precedents in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and another case where the 6th Circuit upheld a similar waiting period. The brief also explains that the district court applied the wrong legal standard when it halted enforcement of the state’s five-year-old law.

“Every woman should have the information she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in a pregnancy,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle. “No court is permitted to review a law it dislikes and substitute its own policy views for the views of the state’s elected branch of government. The Supreme Court has already recognized that state governments have the constitutional authority to provide women contemplating abortions the opportunity to receive crucially important information before such a life-changing procedure is performed. In fact, many women resort to abortion because they feel it is their only choice and then regret the decision for years to come. Tennessee’s law is a commonsense, compassionate, and constitutional statute that protects women, and it deserves to be upheld.”

As ADF attorneys note in their brief filed in Bristol Regional Women’s Center v. Slatery, CMDA is an incorporated nonprofit Tennessee organization of Christian physicians and allied health care professionals with over 19,000 members nationally, many of whom reside and practice in Tennessee. CMDA provides a medically reliable and ethically sound public voice on health care policy, works to uphold the sanctity of life, and works to ensure that courts apply the correct legal standard when evaluating constitutional challenges to abortion regulations.

  • Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

# # # | Ref. 79384


Additional resources: Bristol Regional Women’s Center v. Slatery

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue

Previous News Releases


Legal Documents


Related Resources

ABOUT Denise Harle

Denise Harle serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the Center for Life. In this role, she focuses her litigation efforts on defending the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life health care professionals and pregnancy resource centers. From 2015 to 2017, prior to joining ADF, Harle served as deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Florida Attorney General. Additionally, in 2017, Harle participated in the prestigious Supreme Court Fellow program, sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General. After clerking for Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky L. Polston, Harle joined the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, where she worked as an associate in the litigation and appellate practice groups from 2011 to 2015. Harle earned bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude, in psychology and interdisciplinary social science from Florida State University. She subsequently acquired a master’s degree in political science from Stanford University, followed by a Juris Doctor at Duke University School of Law. A member of the state bars of California, Florida, and Georgia, she is admitted to multiple federal district and appellate courts.