Supporters of Planned Parenthood in the gallery of the Tennessee House of Representatives. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro))

House passes abortion decriminalization bill despite complaints it will hurt women

BY: - March 21, 2023

After lively debate Monday, the Tennessee House passed legislation decriminalizing some forms of abortion in the state, giving physicians the opportunity to save women experiencing deadly pregnancies based on “reasonable judgment.” The House voted 83-11 in favor of the legislation with two abstaining. Two Republicans voted against the bill, and 13 Democrats voted for it. […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

House committee moves forward a bill to allow narrow exceptions to Tennessee’s abortion law

BY: and - March 15, 2023

A bill to allow very specific exceptions to Tennessee’s abortion ban passed a key House committee Wednesday. The legislation would allow doctors to perform an abortion in the case of an ectopic and molar pregnancies — a rare, noncancerous tumor that develops as the result of a non-viable pregnancy — or when a doctor determines […]

Dr. Tracy Coffee of Clarksville, Tenn. regularly provides emergency care to pregnant women. Her job is now complicated by Tennessee's abortion ban. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Support grows for abortion law changes to save life of the mother

BY: - March 13, 2023

Nashville resident Mathilde Stubblefield wanted to stay alive for her 2-year-old when she decided to end a dangerous pregnancy amid Tennessee’s restrictive abortion law. Faced with death or a hysterectomy that would end her chances to have children, Stubblefield elected to end a Caesarean scar ectopic pregnancy that could have killed her. “I never wanted […]

The Tennessee Senate Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House physician “affirmative defense” delayed after abortion bills fall in Senate

BY: - March 1, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated. A piece of legislation designed to stop the “criminalization” of doctors could be in trouble after several abortion-related bills went down in flames this week. State Rep. Esther Helton-Haynes delayed a bill Wednesday for three weeks that would remove the “affirmative defense” requirement for doctors who provide abortions […]

A group of advocates from the Nashville Sexual Assault Center on Feb. 28, 2023, addressed a bill to carve out exceptions to a state abortion ban.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Abortion physician “affirmative defense” bill on hold

BY: - February 28, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated. Legislation designed to let physicians determine when an abortion is needed to save the life of a mother – without facing the threat of prosecution – is on ice despite reported support by the attorney general. State Sen. Richard Briggs said Monday he is postponing consideration of Senate […]

Dr. Tracy Coffee of Clarksville, Tenn. regularly provides emergency care to pregnant women. Her job is now complicated by Tennessee's abortion ban. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Abortion bill amendments don’t stop Tennessee Right to Life opposition

BY: - February 23, 2023

Tennessee Right to Life continues to oppose legislation that would stop the “criminalization” of doctors who perform abortions to save the life of a woman despite a number of proposed changes to the bill. An amendment negotiated with Tennessee Right to Life makes numerous changes, but the House Health Committee failed to consider the measure […]

The Reproductive Freedom Alliance comprises Democratic governors from 20 states that aim to protect abortion and reproductive health care access. (Getty Images)

Democratic governors in 20 states form reproductive rights alliance

BY: - February 22, 2023

Democratic governors from 20 states across the U.S., led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, have formed a Reproductive Freedom Alliance to safeguard and improve abortion and reproductive health care access “in the face of an unprecedented assault by states hostile to abortion rights,” according to a joint statement. The announcement represents another divide in the […]

Tennessee Right to Life held a press conference Friday in the Tennessee Capitol. Lawmakers including Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka (by Tennessee flag, partially obscured,) Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, in navy jacket and khaki pants, and at far left, House Majority Leader Williams Lamberth, R-Pprtland. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lawmakers find themselves in cross-hairs of anti-abortion groups

BY: - February 21, 2023

State lawmakers are defending themselves against attacks from anti-abortion groups accusing them of trying to derail Tennessee’s new restrictions. Tennessee Right to Life and Tennessee Stands are targeting members of the Population Health Subcommittee, mainly Republicans, and urging people to call and email them after they approved legislation designed to change the “affirmative defense” provision […]

Millions of people are expected to lose their Medicaid eligibility in the coming months as states return the programs to pre-COVID status. The loss of that revenue is expected to hurt struggling rural hospitals. Photo at Vanderbilt University Medical Center by John Partipilo.

Rural hospitals gird for unwinding of pandemic Medicaid coverage

BY: - February 20, 2023

Donald Lloyd, CEO and president of St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, Kentucky, has spent more than a year dealing with higher costs for food and medical supplies for his regional hospital. Now he’s trying to prepare for another financial hit — the loss of Medicaid reimbursements for treating people in rural Appalachia. “We are all […]

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton told a lawyer for Tennessee Right to Life:"To intimidate this committee to go a certain direction is uncalled for." (Photo: John Partipilo)

Abortion bill to save life of mother clears first hurdle amid rancor over political threat

BY: - February 14, 2023

Despite a threat of negative pro-life scoring, a House subcommittee overwhelmingly passed legislation Tuesday enabling doctors to perform abortions in life-threatening situations without facing prosecution. The House Population Health Subcommittee approved HB883 and sent it to the full Health Committee for consideration as House Speaker Cameron Sexton stepped in to blast Tennessee Right to Life […]

Dr. Amy Gordon Bono, a primary care physician, speaking outside the Tennessee Capitol on Wednesday about the state's "trigger law" that bans abortions. The law took effect at midnight. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lines drawn for renewed abortion fight

BY: - February 13, 2023

The fight over Tennessee’s strict abortion law is set to start this week in a House subcommittee slated to hear legislation removing the “affirmative defense” for physicians who perform an abortion to save the life of a mother. State Rep. Esther Helton-Haynes, R-East Ridge, is sponsoring House Bill 883, which will be designed to clear […]

Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 17, 2020 - Participants in the Power Together Women's March in Nashville.(Photo: Alex Kent)

Reflections on the 2023 Women’s March, from the front line

BY: - February 13, 2023

If you’re a progressive woman in Tennessee, maybe you participated in your local women’s march on January 19. Or maybe you sat home again this year, watching those big marches in New York or Washington, DC—oceans of women! famous women!—thinking, “That’s where I need to be. That’s where the action is!” No, that’s where the […]