The Look in Brief

Tennessee’s abortion ban to be codified into law in 30 days 

By: - July 27, 2022 9:00 am
Women at a Nashville protest for abortion rights on June 24. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Women at a Nashville protest for abortion rights on June 24, 2022. (Photo: John Partipilo)

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its judgment Tuesday to formally reverse Roe v. Wade and the clock is ticking for a total ban on abortion to take effect in Tennessee.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery notified the Tennessee Code Commission of the ruling, saying the Tennessee Human Life Protection Act will become law on August 25. 

Tennessee Right to Life, which has helped set the state’s anti-abortion agenda for years, released a statement Tuesday. 

“Tennessee Right to Life is grateful to the Attorney General for staying vigilant with the timing mechanisms set forth in the Trigger Law and we look forward to 30 days from now when lives will be saved thanks to this law and Attorney General Slatery’s efforts.”

Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, carried the bill when it passed in 2019. As written, the act will make abortions illegal unless a pregnant person’s life is in jeopardy. 

“Tennessee will be known for protecting our children,” Lynn said during debate.  “We will be in a position to restore common-sense protections that express pro-life views and sentiments of Tennesseans.”

Unde the new law, anyone performing  or attempting to perform an abortion can be charged with a Class C felony, although women receiving an abortion are not criminally liable.

Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern the law makes no exceptions even  for children who are victims of sexual assault. 

According to the most recent data from the Tennessee Department of Health, more than 200 children under the age of 18 received abortions in Tennessee in 2019.

Planned Parenthood’s two clinics in the state ceased to provide abortions after the high court’s initial June 24 announcement in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Center that abortion decisions would be returned to the states. 

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