This legislation will ban abortion when the unborn child has a fetal heartbeat. It will also ban abortion at different stages of the pregnancy including at the following gestational ages of the unborn child:
Six (6) weeks;
Eight (8) weeks;
Ten (10) weeks;
Twelve (12) weeks;
Fifteen (15) weeks;
Eighteen (18) weeks;
Twenty (20) weeks;
Twenty-one (21) weeks;
Twenty-two (22) weeks;
Twenty-three (23) weeks; and
Twenty-four (24) weeks.
In addition, the legislation also prohibits the abortion in the following instances:
- If the doctor knows that the woman is seeking an abortion because of the child's sex or race;
- If the doctor knows the woman is seeking an abortion due to to a diagnosis of Down syndrome; and
- For juveniles in custody of the Department of Children's Services, including removing the current option to petition a judge for permission.
There is an exception to the restrictions if a woman's life is in danger.
The law makes it a Class C felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in any of those situations, and the physician must also:
- Determine and inform the mother of the gestational age of the baby;
- Allow the woman to hear the baby's heartbeat and explain the location of the unborn child within the uterus;
- Conduct an ultrasound and display the images to the mother; and
- Provide an explanation of the unborn child's dimensions and which external body parts and internal organs are present and visible.
The legislation passed the Tennessee Senate and House on June 19.
ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in Middle Tennessee District Federal Court against the legislation on June 19.
Governor Bill Lee signed the legislation into law on on Monday, July 13, 2020.
Judge William Campbell issued a temporary restraining order on Monday, July 13, 2020, not allowing the law to go into effect until the outcome of the trial in Federal Court.