22 June 2020
Tennessee, by a majority vote of both its House and Senate, has blocked abortions that are legal in Roe v. Wade. In fact, with its new regulations, Tennessee may have banned almost all abortions, since the threshold criterion (the presence of a fetal heartbeat) can occur as early as six weeks. Most women who are pregnant at six weeks don’t even know they’re pregnant yet.
Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill backed by the state’s Republican governor that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Early Friday morning, the Tennessee Senate approved the bill, 23-5, after the House had passed the legislation earlier, 68-17. Republicans control both chambers.
The legislation — which prompted immediate legal action from several abortion rights groups — effectively bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks, through 24 weeks into a pregnancy. The bill would make exceptions to protect the life of the woman, but not for instances of rape or incest. Abortions after viability, which is around 24 weeks, are already illegal in Tennessee except in cases where the woman’s life is in danger.
The Tennessee bill punishes abortion providers with up to 15 years in jail and a $10,000 maximum fine.
However, legal challenges have already been mounted by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. “As promised, we will see them in court,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee in a statement.
SB 1236/HB 77 would prohibit abortions in Tennessee after fetal cardiac activity is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Most women do not even know they are pregnant this early. https://t.co/sB1js2yDd6
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) June 22, 2020
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