HB0077/SB1236 – Disallows abortion based on viability of fetus; or heartbeat. Van Huss/Pody

Bill Description

If all other requirements for a lawful abortion are met, an abortion may be performed if the following requirements are met:
(1) Except in a medical emergency that necessitates an immediate abortion of a woman's pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function (medical emergency), if prior to an abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage, the person who intends to perform an abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage determines whether the fetus the woman is carrying has a detectable heartbeat, and:
(A) When the ultrasound does not reveal a fetal heartbeat, if the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is performed with the pregnant woman's consent and pursuant to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician;
(B) After the detection of a fetal heartbeat, but before viability of the fetus, if there is a medical emergency, and the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is performed by a physician; or
(C) After the detection of a fetal heartbeat and during viability of the fetus, if there is a medical emergency, and the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is performed by a physician in a hospital;
(2) Except in a medical emergency, when ultrasound testing is consistent with standard medical practice and performed prior to a surgical or invasive intrauterine abortion, the presence or absence of a fetal heartbeat must be determined and documented. The person who determines the presence or absence of a fetal heartbeat must:
(A) Record in the pregnant woman's medical record the estimated gestational age of the fetus, the ultrasound method used to test for a fetal heartbeat, the date and time of the test, and the results of the test; and
(B) Offer to the pregnant woman either in person or by telephone, the results of the ultrasound, including if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

TLRC Position

Favor: Most Tennesseans feel that a living being with it's own DNA has the same constitutional and God-given rights and protections as any other living being, no matter how tiny or dependent. Birth control methods and products have vastly improved since 1973.

TLRC Observed Process

The bill passed the house, but was sent to summer study by the Senate Judiciary Committee after brilliant testimony by Dr. Brent Boles and David Fowler on the science and the constitutionality of the bill. Three Senators voted against sending the bill to summer study: Senators Janice Bowling, Katrina Robinson, and Dawn White. Senator Kerry Roberts abstained. Those voting to essentially kill the bill for 2019 were: Senators Mike Bell, Todd Gardenhire, Sara Kyle, Jon Lundberg, and John Stevens.
In the meantime, Missouri, Alabama and Arkansas have passed strong anti-abortion bills, so the goal of review by the US Supreme Court is now likely. Perhaps that was the reason behind the "summer study" move: Let another state take the lead and take the heat.

Vote Result: Committee Only

Score: +5

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