What are your rights to abortion in Tennessee?
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a shameful ruling overturning Roe v. Wade — the landmark decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years ago.
Today, in Tennessee, abortion is still legal up until fetal cardiac activity is detected, which occurs at approximately six weeks into pregnancy.
However, politicians have passed what is known as a trigger ban: A law from 2019 that bans abortion 30 days after a mandate from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. This law bans abortion at fertilization, making abortion a Class C felony – which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Where can I get an abortion?
Patients seeking an abortion in Tennessee should contact a provider near them to learn more, schedule appointments, and seek support with costs and travel:
- CHOICES – Memphis Center for Reproductive Health
- Bristol Regional Women’s Center
What if I need financial assistance for an abortion, or would like to make a donation to support abortion access in Tennessee?
(NOTE: The following is a general list of resources compiled from publicly available sources for public reference. Descriptions are from organizational webpages and social media pages. ACLU-TN does not have any special knowledge of, nor endorse, any organization listed below. If you are a part of an organization that would like to be listed here, please reach out to email@example.com.)
- Abortion Care for Tennessee – ACT Fund builds power for Tennesseans by working to remove barriers and increase access to reproductive and sexual health care including safe abortion care for all people. Abortion Care for Tennessee does not fund patients directly at this time. They make funds available to select clinics through block grants each quarter. Make an appointment at a clinic for your abortion before searching for funding. Once you have an appointment at a clinic for an abortion, notify the clinic that you need financial assistance. Oftentimes, clinics have multiple options for providing assistance and they are just one of those options.
- Access Reproductive Care – Southeast – Access Reproductive Care-Southeast aims to help in accessing safe, compassionate, and affordable reproductive care through funding and public advocacy.
- CHOICES Patient Assistance Fund – CHOICES/ Memphis Center for Reproductive Health envisions a world where sexual and reproductive healthcare is recognized as an essential human right. Our services are open to everyone. We offer medication and procedural abortions, gynecological wellness care, gender-affirming hormone therapy, HIV testing and referrals, no-cost birth control, midwife-led prenatal care and births, and more.
- Mountain Access Brigade – Mountain Access Brigade provides support for reproductive health access and abortion care, including abortion doula services, education, practical support, and financial assistance. Our volunteers serve Appalachia and the Southeast to empower autonomy and increase access to pelvic and reproductive healthcare.
- SisterReach’s Tennessee Repro Access Fund – SisterReach’s practical support fund for patients in need of lodging, transportation, food and childcare support when seeking abortion care.
- National Network of Abortion Funds – The National Network of Abortion Funds builds power with members to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice.
Things to Know When Seeking Abortion Care
Many patients want to understand what an abortion will feel like, what recovery will be like, and how much it will cost. Here are a few trusted sources that you can count on when researching abortion:
What can you do to fight for abortion in Tennessee?
- Support Tennessee’s clinics and abortion funds. Even as we fight to maintain the right to an abortion in Tennessee, we encourage donations to abortion providers and to abortion funds that provide financial support to those needing care.
- Take to the streets. As local rallies and events are organized, they will be posted at Planned Parenthood’s “Bans Off Our Bodies” website. Make sure you are prepared by brushing up on your rights as a protester.
- Stay informed. We will continue to post the latest developments and actions you can take on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Vote like your rights depend on it. If abortion is going to be left to the political process, those of us who care about reproductive freedom have to get engaged. Don’t forget about local officials and district attorneys, who can pass ordinances and implement policies making abortion a low priority for enforcement.
This isn’t over. We at ACLU-TN are committed to using the full force of the organization in this fight – and we hope you will join us.