2023 Watchlist

We want to highlight our awesome partners who highlighted a number of key issues. In order to not duplicate efforts, please check out Tennessee Equality Project, Advocates for Women and Kids Equality (AWAKE), and Disability Rights Tennessee for additional bills to watch. 

The Right to Choose to (not) have a child

Abortion and Contraception:

SB600/HB90: Prohibits local governments from funding expenses related to out of state travel for abortion and prohibits them from providing any abortion benefits to their employees
Sponsors: Senator Joey Hensley; Representative Debra Moody
Position: Oppose

SB745/HB883: As amended, creates an exception to the current abortion ban when there exists the potential for substantial and irreversible harm to a pregnant person or in the case of fatal fetal anomalies. 
Sponsors: Senator Richard Briggs; Representative Esther Helton-Haynes
Position: Neutral - We do not support advocating for exceptions, because experience in other states tell us that they do not provide meaningful access to abortion to those intended to benefit from the exception. We’re fighting for everyone to have abortion access in their communities.

SB837/HB1019: Creates a tax break for businesses that donate to fake clinics/crisis pregnancy centers. Explicitly excludes places that actually provide support around abortion.
Sponsors: Senator Brent Taylor; Representative Clay Doggett
Position: Oppose

SB857/HB1440: Creates an unattainable exception to the abortion ban, if a survivor reports to police, consents to fetal tissue testing, and also could face 3 years in prison for a “false” report.
Sponsors: Senator Ferell Haile; Representative Iris Rudder
Position: Oppose

SB885/HB1084: Clarifies that the abortion ban does not apply to hormonal birth control, intrauterine devices, and emergency contraception.
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akbari; Representative Jesse Chism
Position: Support

SB983/HB778: Changes the current abortion ban to only apply to “elective abortions.” 
Position: We reject the narrative that there are good and bad abortions.
Sponsors: Senator Ken Yager; Representative Esther Helton-Haynes

SB1278/HB1296: Requires the Department of Health to provide reversible long-acting contraceptives to people for free.
Sponsors: Senator Becky Massey; Representative Esther Helton-Haynes
Position: Support* While we wholeheartedly support expanded access to contraception, we are also concerned about the growing rhetoric around contraception as a way to curtail DCS cases and further police people’s ability to have children. 

SJR148: Reaffirms the intention of the legislature to provide access to contraception. Names contraception access as a key economic and racial justice issue
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akbari
Position: Support

The Right to Raise Families in Safe and Healthy Communities

Criminal Legal System:

SB181/HB1384: Repeals the offense of aggravated prostitution (i.e. sex work while HIV+)
Sponsors: Senator Page Walley; Representative John Ragan
Position: Support


SB141/HB127: Allows law enforcement and school resource officers to use mechanical restraints on disabled kids. 
Sponsors: Senator Bo Watson; Representative Greg Martin
Position: Oppose

SB445/HB648: Increases the criminal penalties for “educational neglect,” a charge levied on parents for children’s truancy/failure in schools.
Sponsors: Senator Adam Lowe; Representative Kevin Raper
Position: Oppose

Family Policing:

SB528/HB551: Makes various changes to the adoption laws of this state including making it easier and lowering the time limits to terminate parental rights.
Sponsors: Senator Ferrell Haile; Representative Mary Littleton
Position: Oppose

SB535/HB163: Changes the definition of abandonment to make it easier for the state to terminate parental rights.
Sponsors: Senator Ferell Haile; Representative Clay Doggett
Position: Oppose

SB536/HB460: Adds 13 new crimes to the definition of failure to protect from severe abuse. Failure to protect laws disproportionately impact domestic violence survivors. This law would make it easier to separate children from protective parents experiencing violence in the home.
Sponsors: Senator Ferrell Haile; Representative William Slater
Position: Oppose

SB655/HB914: Allows a newborn diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome to remain at home with parents so long as they complete required well-baby visits.
Sponsors: Senator Ed Jackson; Representative Mary Littleton
Position: Oppose* We support keeping families together, but the penalty for missing doctors visits shouldn’t include taking someone’s kids away, especially when the science on neonatal abstinence syndrome is not conclusive.

SB1262/HB1394: Prohibits the Department of Children’s Services from expending money, including survivor, disability, or social security benefits, for a youth in care.
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akbari; Representative Torrey Harris
Position: Support

Pregnancy and Maternal Health:

SB325/HB1325: Requires the Department of Health to create a database and study uterine fibroids.
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akbari; Representative Karen Campers
Position: Support

SB733/HB665: Requires patients seeking medication assisted treatment for opioid use  to sign a consent form acknowledging possible harm to the fetus of buprenorphine before they can be prescribed it.
Sponsors: Senator Rusty Crowe; Representative Tim Hicks
Position: Oppose

Sex Education:

SB1204/HB1293: Expands the state family life curriculum to allow information on contraception, consent, healthy relationships, HIV prevention, and the status of abortion access in the state.
Sponsors: Senator Heidi Campbell; Representative Yusuf Hakeem
Position: Support

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