One of the strictest abortion bills in the country set to become law in Tennessee

An Austrian doctor who prescribes abortion drugs to patients around the world is suing the...
An Austrian doctor who prescribes abortion drugs to patients around the world is suing the United States for allegedly blocking her American patients from getting abortions by seizing their prescriptions. (Source: MGN)(KMVT)
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 1:17 PM EDT
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A strict abortion bill is set to become law in Tennessee. Some say it will be one of the strictest in the country.

The bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote around midnight Friday morning in Nashville.

The legislation bans any abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. It also criminalizes medical professionals who perform an abortion after those six weeks.

This bill also demands an ultrasound before an abortion. Which makes it illegal for a woman to have an abortion because of the child’s race, sex, or potential for down syndrome.

Although there is an exception for medical emergencies, there are not any exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest.

Democratic lawmakers and reproductive rights activists were shocked at the passage of the bill. They had been assured for weeks that the GOP-dominated Senate would not take up this measure.

Senate leaders promised only to take up budget-related or coronavirus proposals.

Instead, the chamber advanced the abortion bill backed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee just after midnight, as budget negotiations stalled.

The Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee released a statement opposing the legislation.

“The Tennessee General Assembly’s passage of this dangerous, flatly unconstitutional bill is unacceptable. Lawmakers used this measure in a game of political maneuvering to pass the state budget – pushing it through without regard for the actual Tennesseans who will be denied access to the care they need, including abortion Lack of access to abortion care particularly harms those struggling financially and those who already face significant barriers to health care, including people of color, people with limited incomes, rural people, and young people. Politicians should not be deciding what is best for women and certainly not making reproductive health care decisions for them. As promised, we will see them in court.”


Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director