Statewide Coalition Responds to the Legislative Passage of HB 1189/SB 1180, the Extreme Abortion Ban Bill
(Nashville, TN) Statement by Anna Carella, Co-State Director of Healthy and Free TN on today's passage of HB 1189/SB 1180, an abortion ban bill which the TN Attorney General has said is constitutionally suspect, as well as coming on the heels of the decision to stop enforcing two current TN abortion restrictions due to state litigation.
"We are extremely disappointed that the TN Legislature voted to pass HB 1189/SB 1180, an extreme abortion ban bill that would mandate viability testing after 20 weeks and then ban abortions after the fetus is deemed viable, with narrow exceptions for a woman's health. It also threatens prosecution and jail time for doctors who perform the procedure, which medical associations have spoken out against strongly. The Tennessee Attorney General issued a recent opinion stating that this bill is "constitutionally infirm", and the added amendment does not address the serious constitutional questions his opinion raised, leaving the state vulnerable to further future lawsuits and more wasting of taxpayer money to defend another medically unnecessary law.
This bill has rightly been referred to as cruel, as it targets those rare occurrences when abortions are needed after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 99% of abortions occur before 21 weeks, but when they are needed later in pregnancy, it is often for medically complicated reasons like dangerous fetal anomalies or for serious risk to the woman's health. These are situations where medical experts need every available resource at their disposal, not the distraction and fear of lawsuits and jail.
Tennessee has so many real issues that we as residents want our legislators to be working on, such as providing healthcare to the hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans who cannot access the care they need. It is irresponsible for certain legislators to continue to use abortion as a wedge issue to make political statements and avoid doing the real needed work that people deserve in our state. This bill is another extreme restriction that creates an undue burden for women seeking abortion. We expect our legislators to stand up against extreme political agendas and address real problems, not create new ones."