Lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced a range of legislation following Gov. Bill Lee’s promise to support any bill that reduces the number of abortions in the state. This comes in alignment with a national swell of pro-life legislation. Pro-life legislators believe the Supreme Court could reverse Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973, or uphold specific state laws that could chip away at it.
“I’m supportive of bills and legislation that would reduce abortions in Tennessee,” Lee said.
A proposal in Tennessee that has received Lee’s approval would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected – typically as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and South Carolina have introduced similar legislation.
While much of the attention has been on Lee’s support of a fetal-heartbeat bill, other proposals have been introduced that could further restrict abortion in Tennessee. One bill would trigger a ban on abortion if the Supreme Court were to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. Eighteen other states have similar laws on the books.
One proposal would require doctors performing abortions on girls younger than 18 to preserve a sample of the fetal tissue for law enforcement; the current law requires such preservation and submission of DNA samples for abortions on girls under 13.
Another bill would hike the fine imposed on physicians failing to report illegal abortions on girls under 13 to $1,000 (from $500) for a first offense. Second-offense fines would increase from $1,000 to $1,500.