It’s official: the state of Tennessee has passed a bill that would ban any and all abortions in the state once a heartbeat is detected.
The bill passed both the House and the Senate, which are controlled by Republicans.
Governor Bill Lee, also a Republican, is backing the bill.
The bill also blocks abortion in cases where the child has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, preventing parents from killing their unborn child when they find out it has a disability.
The bill was thought to have no chance of passing this year, especially with everything going on around COVID-19.
But the bill found new life last week after negotiations resumed between both chambers.
Governor Bill Lee touted the stronged pro-life law in the state of Tennessee’s history.
More details below:
If a physician is caught violating this law, he or she could face up to 15 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
CNN has more details on the bill and what it means:
Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill backed by the state's Republican governor that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Early Friday morning, the Tennessee Senate approved the bill, 23-5, after the House had passed the legislation earlier, 68-17. Republicans control both chambers.
The legislation -- which prompted immediate legal action from several abortion rights groups -- effectively bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks, through 24 weeks into a pregnancy. The bill would make exceptions to protect the life of the woman, but not for instances of rape or incest. Abortions after viability, which is around 24 weeks, are already illegal in Tennessee except in cases where the woman's life is in danger.
The Tennessee bill punishes abortion providers with up to 15 years in jail and a $10,000 maximum fine. It also prohibits an abortion where the doctor knows the woman is seeking an abortion because of the child's race, sex, or a diagnosis indicating Down syndrome.
The bill has been highly praised by anti-abortion activists.
Furthermore, this new bill paves a path that could leave all the way to the Supreme Court.
If that happens, this could be the first real challenge with the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Hill confirms:
Anti-abortion groups praised the law, which is one of several so-called heartbeat bills passed across the nation.
“Tennessee’s landmark new law includes some of the strongest protections in the nation for unborn children and their mothers,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. “This law recognizes the humanity of the unborn child by stopping abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, protecting them from lethal discrimination in the womb, and ending late-term abortions after five months, when unborn babies can feel excruciating pain.”
Several similar bills have already been passed, but others were struck down in Mississippi, Ohio and other states.
However, conservative activists have said they are determined to push forward with their efforts to pass similar bills to try to bring a case to the Supreme Court, which they hope would result in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the original decision legalizing abortion.
Of course, not everyone is happy with the decision.
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have filed lawsuits against the state of Tennessee to attempt this bill from being enacted.
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are filing lawsuits against the state of Tennessee to stop this heartbeat bill.
However, many legal experts believe that the bill as is will survive in court.
Far left radicals may not like it, but experts suggest that the bill is legally sound.
According to the Tennessean:
McNally has said he believes the current version of the heartbeat bill will hold up in court, despite raising concerns last year over constitutionality. It's unclear how the new legislation would have a better chance of passing constitutional muster.
"As promised, we will see them in court," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee in a statement early Friday morning, moments after the bill passed.
Friday afternoon, Planned Parenthood announced the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights were filing suit with them "to stop Tennessee’s unconstitutional abortion ban."
Plaintiffs include Memphis and Knoxville abortion clinics, along with Drs. Kimberly Looney and Nikki Zite on behalf of themselves and their patients.
“The Tennessee General Assembly’s passage of this dangerous, flatly unconstitutional bill is unacceptable," Weinberg said. "Lawmakers used this measure in a game of political maneuvering to pass the state budget — pushing it through without regard for the actual Tennesseans who will be denied access to the care they need, including abortion."
In April, Planned Parenthood challenged one of Lee's executive orders that could have blocked surgical abortions during a time when the governor had placed limits on non-emergency medical procedures because of the coronavirus pandemic. A federal judge blocked the state's attempt to limit abortion procedures.
Ashley Coffield, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Tennessee and North Mississippi, said the Senate's last-minute approval of the legislation Friday "flies in the face of democracy."
"In the dead of night, Tennessee politicians hellbent on chipping away at abortion access blocked citizens from entering the state Capitol while they used this draconian abortion ban to pass the state budget," Coffield said in a statement. "While Tennesseans are concerned about their health and safety during a pandemic, politicians used women’s lives as a bargaining chip to push their political agenda."
Adam Kleinheider, spokesman for McNally, said the legislation had previously been a priority of the Senate before the pandemic.
"The bill was a result of an exhaustive public Senate summer study and thoroughly vetted in committee this year," Kleinheider said in a statement. "Due to conflicting House and Senate versions and the prospect of a difficult and time intensive debate, the Senate did not place it on a floor calendar during the first weeks of this limited budget-focused session."
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement that the group applauded Lee for making the legislation part of his agenda, as well as their "pro-life allies in the Tennessee General Assembly."
“Tennessee’s landmark new law includes some of the strongest protections in the nation for unborn children and their mothers,” Dannenfelser said.
In 2020, social issues are once against defining local and national politics.
Pro-life advocates praise Tennessee for its strong stance in protecting all life, no matter how small or how young.
The difference between the two party's stance on the sanctity of human life has never been clearer.