SB 1236/HB 77, as amended, would prohibit abortions in Tennessee after fetal cardiac activity is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Most women do not even know they are pregnant this early – so by the time a woman learns she is pregnant, she and her family could have already had the full range of medical options taken away from them.
This legislation bans abortions so early into a pregnancy that it would be tantamount to outlawing almost all abortions. It also criminalizes doctors who perform abortions in such instances, except in the case of a medical emergency.
This legislation drastically limits a woman’s constitutional right to make her own medical decisions and places an undue burden on a woman seeking legal and safe reproductive care. 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 is flatly unconstitutional, the sponsors of this bill gamble with taxpayer money, risking the state getting tied up in court for years while it expends scarce resources which could otherwise be used to provide Tennesseans with quality health care and education.