Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Court blocks “abortion reversal” law that would force doctors to lie to patients. 

NASHVILLE — Today, a federal court in Tennessee issued a preliminary injunction, blocking a state law that would have forced doctors to provide false and misleading information to their patients about the potential to “reverse” a medication abortion; the unproven claim has no basis in credible medical research. This injunction comes after the court issued a temporary restraining order against the law last year.

This law was an attempt by politicians to erode the trust between patients and their providers by forcing doctors to lie to patients and share misinformation that isn’t backed up by credible science. Had it gone into effect, providers would have been forced to share misinformation with patients — telling them it may be possible to “reverse” a medication abortion — at least 48 hours in advance of providing a medication abortion and again after the patient has taken the first medication, as well as post signs throughout their health centers informing patients about abortion “reversal” in large, bold print. Providers who refused to comply would have faced criminal prosecution for a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison, and health centers would have faced a $10,000 daily fine for failure to display the required signs.

“Reversal” laws are opposed by leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), the Society of Family Planning, and the American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In fact, the AMA is a party to a lawsuit in North Dakota challenging a similar “reversal” law.

In today’s preliminary injunction ruling, Judge William Campbell, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, said: 

“In the Court’s view, misleading an undecided patient into beginning a procedure that may have unalterable consequences by suggesting she can ‘reverse’ it later is not a result desired by either side.” 

Statement from Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi:

Today’s decision is a win for all patients — they deserve medically accurate information when making decisions about their health. This law has always been about shaming patients and stigmatizing abortion. Planned Parenthood will always fight for our patients who deserve access to safe, legal abortion no matter who they are or where they live. The truth matters to our patients and today truth and science prevailed.

Statement from Michelle Moriarty, Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

This law is a disturbing free speech violation, and we are glad the court recognized that today. Doctors have free speech rights —just like everyone does—and forcing them to lie to their patients violates those rights. Patients should be able to trust that their doctors are giving them accurate, relevant information that is supported by reliable medical evidence. There is no such thing as abortion ‘reversal’ and we cannot have patients making health care decisions based on false information.

Statement from Rebecca Chan, staff attorney at the ACLU:

This law is a medically baseless, shameful attack on access to abortion. Patients should be able to trust that the information from their medical providers is based on science, not politics. Today’s ruling puts patients’ well-being first and keeps politicians out of the exam room, where they certainly don’t belong.

Statement from Thomas H. Castelli, legal director of the ACLU of Tennessee:

This decision is a victory for patients, ensuring that they can continue to receive factual and clear information from their personal doctors while our lawsuit proceeds. Everyone should be able to get the care they need, including an abortion, without politicians interfering and trying to force physicians to mislead patients. We will continue to fight this dangerous law until it is struck down for good.

Tennessee has numerous additional abortion restrictions on the books, including a ban on the use of telehealth for medication abortion; a currently enjoined mandatory 48-hour waiting period (which includes a requirement that forces patients to delay care by adding a medically unnecessary trip to the health center to receive state-mandated information); limits on when private and public insurance can cover abortion services; and a requirement that minors obtain parental consent.

Since 2015, politicians across the country have passed similar laws trying to force providers to promote the unsupported idea that a medication abortion can be "reversed” — a debunked claim based on junk science and peddled by anti-abortion researchers. In 2019, courts blocked similar laws in North Dakota and Oklahoma.

The lawsuit was brought by Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health, Memphis Center for Reproductive Health (“CHOICES”), and carafem — represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of Tennessee.

A copy of the original complaint can be found here.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.