Senate Committee Refuses to Protect Pregnant People and Their Loved Ones From Criminal Punishment for Their Pregnancy Outcomes

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - Last Tuesday, the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send a resolution that merely reaffirmed the legislature’s intent that the laws of this state not be used to criminalize pregnant people and their loved ones for the outcomes of their pregnancy to summer study.

Summer study is a term used by the legislature often to kill bills, especially in an election year. Sponsor Senator London Lamar argued, “Last week our colleagues in the House rejected protections for contraception and IVF. This week they won’t even pass a resolution reaffirming our laws that say the state shouldn’t be arresting pregnant women for their pregnancy losses. Extreme laws are having extreme consequences for Tennessee women. It’s cruel and Tennesseans deserve better.” 

This resolution was introduced following the release of Pregnancy Justice’s report on pregnancy-related prosecutions from 1970-2022 found that Tennessee was 3rd in the nation for such prosecutions. “No Tennessean should have to fear investigation or arrest for their pregnancy outcome: whether that be miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, or live birth. And yet, we are seeing it more and more across the state. Pregnant women forced to sit in jails when they would otherwise be released; friends and families fearing helping people access needed care across state lines; and overzealous medical providers and staff reporting pregnant people for things that are not even crimes under the laws of the state,” Briana Perry, Interim Executive Director of Healthy and Free Tennessee and co-author of the resolution shared.

All leading medical and legal associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association agree: punitive policies to address maternal and fetal health do not work, and often result in worse health outcomes for both the parent and the child. “What we need is access to healthcare and social supports such as comprehensive prenatal care coverage, paid family and medical leave, and access to abortion care so that Tennesseans can navigate pregnancy outcomes with dignity, free from punishment and violence” Perry added. “Only then can we live in vibrant, healthy, and communities.”

We Demand the Decriminalization of All Pregnancy Outcomes !

  • info healthyandfreetn
    published this page in Blog 2024-03-19 13:21:51 -0500

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