Late last week news broke that two abortion restrictions will no longer be enforced in Tennessee. This week the legislature will vote on a current abortion ban bill that the Tennessee Attorney General recently said is "constitutionally suspect." Will the legislature choose to disregard the top legal opinion in our state and continue to waste taxpayer money and resources to push abortion access further out of reach? Read on to learn more and take 3 easy actions before the abortion ban bill is heard tomorrow!
Due to a state level lawsuit, two abortion restrictions struck down federally will no longer be enforced in Tennessee. Huge thanks to coalition partner CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health which was among the litigants in the case, as well as the Center for Reproductive Rights who prosecuted the state in the case; the same lawyers who brought and won the Texas Supreme Court case this past summer. The Supreme Court ruling acknowledged that these TRAP laws are medically unnecessary and cause undue burdens to people seeking safe and legal abortion care. Read more about the decision here.
Amidst this important development, the TN legislature is considering yet another medically unnecessary and extreme abortion restriction. SB 1180/HB 1189 is a sneaky 20 week abortion ban bill. It 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 changes the legal definition of a medical emergency and threatens prosecution and jail time for doctors who perform the procedure, all of which is legally questionable. The Tennessee Attorney General issued a recent opinion stating that this bill is "constitutionally infirm", meaning that he doesn't think it will hold up in court against our established constitutional right to abortion based on past court rulings.
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. Hadleigh Tweedall has been incredibly brave in sharing her pregnancy loss story. Read her story and her thoughts on this bill in an Op-ed that was published in the Memphis Flyer last week.
Join us in taking action against yet another politically motivated attempt to chip away at legal abortion by doing three things:
1) Take two minutes and email the Committee that will hear the bill tomorrow by following this link.
2) After you've emailed, call the Judiciary Committee, especially Senators Kelsey, Lumberg, Stevens and Overby. You can find their phone numbers by clicking on their names here.
3) Attend the hearing tomorrow! We want to fill up the hearing room with strong opposition to this bill. Signs will be provided. Info about the hearing can be found here, and if you want to ride over from Memphis email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking action to protect our ability to make our own decisions about our lives and our bodies.