Anti-abortion proposals are nothing new in the Tennessee legislature. The past three years alone have seen considerable efforts to criminalize abortion, as well as ample public pushback.
Two anti-abortion proposals will be considered by Tennessee lawmakers in this year's legislative session.
Reviving her controversial bill that she ultimately scrapped last year, Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver filed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, though most abortions in Tennessee are performed well before the 20 week mark, according to multiple organizations that track abortion statistics, including the National Abortion Rights Action League.
Rep. James Van Huss has filed an equally controversial anti-abortion bill, one that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected and would require fetal heartbeat testing prior to the procedure.
As of press time, neither bill has been assigned to committee or has picked up a co-sponsor.
CHOICE's executive director, Rebecca Terrell isn't remotely surprised at this year's crop of anti-abortion proposals.
"However individuals might feel about abortion at different points in the pregnancy, a women's health — not politics — should drive this very important medical decision," said Terrell, who added that Tennessee has a "very anti-woman legislature".
The theme of non-medical professionals trying to wield influence on a complicated medical procedure such as abortion is a recurring one in Tennessee. Neither Rep. Weaver nor Rep. Van Huss hold any certifications in obstetrics and gynecology. In fact, the Tennessee General Assembly website lists Rep. Weaver
as a "singer, songwriter, and small business owner" and Rep. Van Huss
as a web programmer.
If you want to track the bills, you may do so here
for the "Heartbeat" Bill, HB108, and here
for the 20-week abortion ban bill, HB101.