A bill that would drastically limit women’s constitutional right to make their own medical decisions and place an undue burden on a woman seeking legal and safe reproductive care is beginning to move through the Tennessee General Assembly.
SB 244/HB 108, sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Micah Van Huss, would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. This is often so early into a pregnancy that it would be tantamount to outlawing almost all abortions — meaning that even before a woman may know she is pregnant, she and her family will not have a full range of medical options available to them.
The courts long ago established Constitutional precedent that the decision to terminate a pregnancy belongs to the individuals involved, not the government.
By recklessly promoting legislation that clearly flouts the law of the land, the sponsors of this bill gamble with taxpayer money, risking the state getting tied up in court for years while it expends scarce resources to defend a flatly unconstitutional legislation.
While we may not all agree about abortion, it is important that we support a woman and allow her to make the best decision for her circumstances. She should be able to make them in consultation with her doctor, faith and family, without politicians interfering in the conversation or trying to force her hand by narrowing the window in which she is allowed to decide what is best for her health and her family.
UPDATE: This bill was deferred until 2018 in the House Health Subcommittee on March 8.