Bill would ban abor­tions across state if Roe v. Wade over­turned

The Commercial Appeal - - Viewpoint - Anita Wad­hwani Nashville Ten­nessean USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE

NASHVILLE — A pair of Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have in­tro­duced a bill that would ban most abor­tions in Ten­nessee should the Supreme Court over­turn Roe v. Wade, its land­mark de­ci­sion le­gal­iz­ing abor­tion.

The “Hu­man Life Pro­tec­tion Act“would cre­ate one ex­cep­tion to the ban: when an abor­tion is nec­es­sary to pre­vent death or “sub­stan­tial and ir­re­versible im­pair­ment of ma­jor bod­ily func­tion.”

If en­acted, the mea­sure would make it a felony for a doc­tor to per­form an abor­tion, while women seek­ing abor­tions would be ex­empt from prose­cu­tion.

It would be up to doc­tors to prove the abor­tion was nec­es­sary to pre­vent a woman’s death as part of an “af­fir­ma­tive de­fense to prose­cu­tion.” A physi­cian per­form­ing an abor­tion would also have to prove that he or she had made a best-faith ef­fort to de­liver a live in­fant.

The mea­sure, in­tro­duced by Sen. Dolores Gre­sham, R-somerville, and Rep. Su­san Lynn, R-MT. Juliet, would take ef­fect 30 days af­ter the Supreme Court over­turned Roe v. Wade in whole or part — or if an amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion is adopted giv­ing states the au­thor­ity to ban abor­tions.

“This bill will en­sure Ten­nessee re­mains a na­tional leader in pre­serv­ing pro­tec­tions for our un­born and the women of our state,” Lynn said.

The bill is a pri­or­ity for Ten­nessee Right to Life, which ad­vo­cates against abor­tion, and has built a large, grass­roots fol­low­ing that was re­spon­si­ble for pass­ing a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment re­mov­ing the right to an abor­tion from Ten­nessee’s con­sti­tu­tion.

Sen. Raumesh Ak­bari, D-memphis, said law­mak­ers should place their ef­forts else­where.

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