The Tennessee House and Senate has passed a bill banning abortions in the state after an unborn baby's heartbeat has been detected, which occurs as early as six weeks' gestation. The bill also bans abortions which are "motivated by sex, race, or disability diagnosis of the unborn child."
Governor Bill Lee announced Friday that he will sign the bill into law.
"One of the most important things we can do to be pro-family is to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our state, and there is none more vulnerable than the unborn. We have passed the strongest pro-life law in our state's history and I am grateful to Lt. Gov McNally, Speaker Sexton, Leader Johnson, Leader Lamberth and members of our General Assembly for making the heartbeat bill law."
The bill also requires an ultrasound to be conducted before an abortion and bans abortion doctors from performing abortions after a heartbeat is detected if they are aware that the action is "motivated by sex, race, or disability diagnosis of the unborn child."
Life News reports:
The pro-life legislation includes informed consent measures as well. It would require abortion facilities to inform women of the abortion pill reversal procedure and the size and gestational age of their unborn baby. It also would require abortion facilities to allow the mother to hear her unborn baby's heartbeat and see the baby on an ultrasound.
The bill contains an exception for medical emergencies. It does not contain exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest.
Ashley Coffield, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Tennessee and North Mississippi, lashed out in a statement after the bill was passed:
"Tennessee politicians hellbent on chipping away at abortion access blocked citizens from entering the state Capitol while they used this draconian abortion ban to pass the state budget. While Tennesseans are concerned about their health and safety during a pandemic, politicians used women's lives as a bargaining chip to push their political agenda."
Any abortion doctor who violates the bill would be subject to a Class C felony.
🔦 The bill, which is all but certain to be stalled in the court system, is a significant stepping stone in pro-life politicians' efforts to get legislation in front of the Supreme Court with hopes that the justices will rule in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade.