When Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ordered a halt to non-emergency medical services last month due to the coronavirus, many Republican lawmakers questioned how it impacted abortion.
The Republican governor publicly said he intended to restrict abortions with the order. But emails obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests show conservative lawmakers and anti-abortion advocates pressed him to make the order explicit, saying clinics were still performing the procedure. Ultimately, Lee signed a tougher directive that abortion providers said banned surgical abortions. Providers challenged the policy and a federal judge blocked Tennessee’s abortion ban last week. The decision is headed for appeal.