Tennessee Women Lawmakers Move to Restore Full Legal Protections for Unborn

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Women lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced legislation that would restore full legal protections for unborn babies should Roe v. Wade be reversed.

The Human Life Protection Act (SB 1257/HB 1029), as introduced:

…bans abortion in this state effective upon the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wadeor amending the U.S. Constitution to allow states to prohibit abortion; creates exception for situations where the abortion is necessary to prevent the death of pregnant woman or prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function; prohibits prosecution of a woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted.

The measure is the legislative priority of Tennessee Right to Life:

“It has always been the priority of Tennessee’s pro-life movement to restore the fullest possible protection to the largest number of unborn children and women in our state,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. “While states like New York are moving to strip any limits to abortion – even at the moments before birth – Tennessee wants to be known for protecting our children.”

Republicans state Sen. Dolores Gresham and state Rep. Susan Lynn are sponsoring the legislation which, if signed into law, would take effect upon a reversal of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court invented a right to abortion.

“With the possibility that there might soon exist a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court willing to give states greater latitude on the matter of abortion, we want to be pro-active to ensure that Tennessee continues to lead the way to the fullest possible protection for human life,” said Gresham in a press statement released by Tennessee Right to Life.

“We want to be in a position to strengthen these pro-life protections because we are a strong pro-life state, and we must continue to be a voice for the voiceless,” Lynn said at a joint press conference.

“This is the next step toward restoring constitutional protections for the unborn, for women and for girls in our state and for the right of citizens to determine public policy on abortion,” Tennessee Right to Life said.

The Arkansas state Senate passed a similar bill last week.

“Medical technology and understanding have come so far in the past decades since Roe was decided, including the development of ultrasound imagery,” said Stacy Dunn, vice-president of Tennessee Right to Life. “Such images make clear the humanity of unborn boys and girls and it’s our responsibility to do everything constitutionally possible to protect them.”

The legislation is introduced as New York has passed law that declares abortion until birth a fundamental right, and other states, such as VirginiaVermontRhode IslandNew Mexico, and Illinois, are also weighing legislation that would declare ending the life of an unborn baby – even until the moment of birth – to be a fundamental right, and that equates abortion with “health care.”

A new poll released by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) and conducted by McLaughlin & Associates finds 77 percent of voters – including 86 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats, and 75 percent of independents – support legislation to ensure a baby who survives a failed abortion is given the same medical treatment as any other baby born prematurely at the same age.

Also, a recent Marist poll showed 75 percent of Americans want substantial restrictions on abortion, including 60 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of those who identify as pro-choice.

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