TENNESSEE RIGHT TO LIFE EXPRESSES CONCERN AT HEARTBEAT ABORTION BAN IN CURRENT FORM
BILL REMOVES POST-VIABILITY PROTECTIONS FOR UNBORN CHILDREN IN TENNESSEE
NASHVILLE, MARCH 5, 2019 - Tennessee Right to Life respectfully underscores the concerns of our organization with regard to H.B. 77, the heartbeat abortion ban legislation.
- Heartbeat bills have been struck down as unconstitutional in each state where it was passed and signed into law (North Dakota, Arkansas, Iowa.)
- As presently drafted, H.B. 77 removes Tennessee's post-viability ban language enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2017. H.B. 77 makes no provision for the protection of viable unborn children during the period in which the heartbeat ban is tied up in court.
- The TN-ACLU has already announced their intention to file suit if the heartbeat ban is passed and signed.
- Significant tax dollars were awarded in legal fees in the other states to pro-abortion plaintiffs including hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood.
- No justice on the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up lower court cases leaving intact the 8th circuit court rulings which found heartbeat bans unconstitutional.
- Such litigation can result in unintended consequences as courts take the opportunity to review other existing pro-life statutes and possible cumulative threats to the "undue burden" standard established in the 1992 Casey ruling.
- The Human Life Protection Act (HLPA) is drafted by pro-life constitutional attorney Paul B. Linton, who also assisted in drafting pro-life Amendment 1. HLPA is an alternate approach toward protecting life which is sponsored by Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) and supported by Tennessee Right to Life.
- HB 1029 provides broader protections for the unborn and abortion-vulnerable women by restoring Tennessee's pre-Roe statutes upon the overturn of Roe, in full or in part, by the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, HB 1029 does not face the same legal challenges as the heartbeat ban for the possibility of building additional case law in support of Roe's precedent.
For these reasons, Tennessee Right to Life cannot support legislation which holds the potential to gravely harm this state's existing pro-life public policies and grassroots gains.
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Pro-Life Women Introduce Human Life Protection Act
RIGHT TO LIFE PROPOSAL SEEKS POST-ROE PROTECTIONS FOR WOMEN, GIRLS AND UNBORN CHILDREN
Nashville, February 13, 2019 - Today, pro-life female legislators introduced legislation supported by Tennessee Right to Life that, upon reversal of Roe v Wade, would restore full legal protections for unborn children. Speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference, state Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) joined state Representative Susan Lynn (R- Mt. Juliet) to explain the bill's objectives.
"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.
Rep. Lynn added "It has always been the priority of Tennessee's pro-life movement to restore protection to the largest number of unborn children and women in our state. While states like New York are moving to strip any limits to abortion--even at the moments just before birth---Tennessee wants to be known for protecting our children."
Unlike some other pro-life proposals, the Human Life Protection Act (SB 1257 / HB 1029)avoids constitutional challenges by taking effect upon reversal, in part or in full, of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. It restores Tennessee's pre-Roe law and prohibits abortion except to save a mother's life. Such policies have been enacted in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Similar legislation is presently being considered in other states such as Kentucky and Arkansas where it passed the state Senate 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."
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