Tennessee Lawmakers on Both Sides Support Adding Exemptions to Current Abortion Laws

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Just aft the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade successful June, a national tribunal allowed Tennessee’s “Heartbeat Bill” to go law, making the state’s abortion instrumentality 1 of the strictest successful the nation.

Some of the legislators who supported and voted for the measure and different termination authorities person made statements indicating they volition enactment caller authorities to easiness the load connected physicians and adhd exceptions for rape and incest.

A abstracted “trigger bill,” passed successful 2020 by the Republican supermajority successful the Tennessee statehouse, likewise constricted entree and created penalties for aesculapian providers for providing what the authorities considers unnecessary abortions.

The alleged trigger bill, known arsenic the Tennessee Human Life Protection Act, was triggered by the Supreme Court determination and kicked disconnected a 30-day countdown erstwhile the determination was officially filed by the precocious court. It went into effect connected Aug. 25.

The measure prohibits abortions successful the authorities with objection of aesculapian emergencies and makes it a Class C felony for a idiosyncratic to execute oregon effort to execute an abortion. The instrumentality specified the felony would lone beryllium aimed astatine the provider, not the pistillate undergoing the abortion.

The measure besides adds connection to springiness physicians an affirmative defence alternatively of exceptions to the law. Affirmative defenses enactment the load connected the doctors alternatively of the authorities prosecutors to beryllium the fishy did not perpetrate the transgression they are accused of.

In this case, physicians indispensable beryllium an termination was performed to prevention the beingness of the large diligent oregon forestall superior harm to her. This is aft charges are filed and they person been arrested, according to The Tennessean.

If their defence is not proven, they could look up to 15 years successful situation if convicted.

Lawmakers Seek Exceptions

Democrat lawmakers successful Tennessee said after the trigger instrumentality went into effect, they planned connected introducing respective bills successful the legislature to grow exemptions to the law, including rape and incest.

Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, a Chattanooga Democrat, introduced a measure with those exceptions and called for further exceptions for the large woman’s intelligence health.

“This measure specifies that the discourtesy of transgression termination does not see an termination that was indispensable owed to a aesculapian exigency affecting the carnal oregon intelligence wellness of the large idiosyncratic oregon performed connected a diligent whose gestation was the effect of rape oregon incest erstwhile the doc performing the termination has verified the diligent reported the discourtesy to the due instrumentality enforcement bureau anterior to the procedure,” substance of his bill, filed Dec. 8, said.

Some lawmakers connected the different broadside of the aisle, including Republicans who voted for the trigger law, person told media outlets they besides program to present authorities to adhd exceptions, though nary had been filed astatine publication.

According to The Tennessean, the Republican caucus seat successful the authorities senate, Sen. Ken Yager, “will sponsor a measure to adhd wide ineligible exceptions for doctors who are presently astatine hazard of prosecution for performing immoderate abortion, adjacent 1 to prevention the beingness of a large patient.”

The Epoch Times reached retired to Yager’s bureau for much accusation connected his reported plans. His Press Secretary, Molly Gormley, said via email the measure had not been filed yet arsenic “the connection of the measure is inactive being worked out.”

She did not respond to a follow-up requesting further details arsenic reported successful The Tennessean earlier publication.

Epoch Times Photo A 2019 representation of Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton. (Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

House Speaker Cameron Sexton said successful an interview with Main Street Nashville clarification is needed connected the law. He added helium would enactment exceptions for rape, incest, and aesculapian emergencies threatening the beingness of the mother, according to the publication.

“I would enactment the 3 exceptions if it made it to the House floor,” helium said.

Yager said adding immoderate ineligible protections for physicians are “pro-life for the parent and pro-life for the unborn child.”

“Although good intended, the affirmative defence proviso is not lone overly burdensome for physicians, but it tin forestall them from performing life-saving abortions for fearfulness of litigation, which puts astatine hazard the lives of large women who necessitate medically indispensable abortions,” Yager said successful a connection to The Tennessean.

Republican Senator Richard Briggs, a retired physician, has been vocal successful his enactment for exceptions portion remaining a pro-life legislator.

In August, he told a Knoxville NBC affiliate helium doesn’t judge existent law, which helium supported, has capable exceptions, including for ectopic pregnancies that endanger the mother.

“An ectopic gestation cannot beryllium carried to term. But if it ruptures, the beingness of the parent could beryllium successful jeopardy,” Briggs said. “The question is, bash you person to hold until it ruptures to prevention her life?”

He besides said successful an interrogation with ProPublica helium ne'er realized the afloat implications of the measure erstwhile helium voted for it.

“I ne'er would person voted for the measure if I had appreciated what is there,” Briggs said. “I’m not an attorney, I didn’t cognize what affirmative defence was. I didn’t deliberation determination would beryllium anything, anywhere, successful the American jurisprudence strategy wherever a idiosyncratic could beryllium [presumed] blameworthy and person to beryllium his innocence.”

His statements prompted anti-abortion groups successful the authorities to condemn his presumption and revoke their enactment of him.

The Tennessee Legislature goes into league successful January, wherever immoderate of the reported bills volition apt beryllium proposed.

Chase Smith

Chase is an award-winning journalist. He covers Tennessee and different parts of the Southeast for The Epoch Times.