Tennessee lawmakers introduce Texas-styled abortion bill

Mar 15, 2022, 12:52 PM | Updated: 1:58 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Despite already enacting one of the strictest abortion bans in the U.S., Tennessee Republicans on Tuesday began advancing yet another anti-abortion measure strategically written to sidestep federal court challenges.

The proposal is almost a direct copycat of legislation currently enacted in Texas, which not only prohibits doctors from performing abortion before most people know they’re pregnant but also allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps someone else get the procedure after six weeks into pregnancy.

The Tennessee version introduced Tuesday would ban all abortions rather than allowing a patient to have a six-week window. But similar to the Texas model, it still would make legal challenges difficult because the government would not be the enforcer.

“This bill is modeled directly after the legislation passed in Texas last year. Abortions since that bill has been passed have dropped 60% in Texas,” said GOP Rep. Rebecca Alexander, the legislation’s sponsor, while addressing a House subcommittee.

The proposed abortion ban does not have an exception for rape or incest, but those who impregnated a patient “through an act of rape, sexual assault, or incest” would not be allowed to sue an abortion provider. However, a rapist’s relatives could each bring a civil action.

“I think you may not understand what your bill does … this allows people who have no knowledge, no standing, that have not been harmed to bring a lawsuit against any doctor that they believe has performed an abortion,” said Democratic Rep. Bob Freeman.

“My intent is to bring a bill that protects the unborn life in this state,” Alexander responded.

The House panel agreed to advance the bill, but it still would have to clear the full House and Senate chambers before it could get before Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.

For decades, Republicans across the U.S. have sought to chip away the constitutional right to abortion, which is protected under the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Yet the Texas law has been one of the rare strict measures to continue to be implemented even as it faces court challenges.

While at least seven states introduced bills mimicking the Texas anti-abortion law earlier this year, to date only Idaho’s GOP-controlled Statehouse has sent a version to the state’s governor for approval.

In Tennessee, Gov. Lee had previously signed off on a sweeping anti-abortion ban limiting the procedure at around the six week mark. However, the 2019 law has never been been enacted after several abortion providers quickly filed lawsuits against the state and federal courts agreed to block the law’s implementation as the challenge makes it way through court.

Lee has been vocal in his opposition to abortion, but he has held off on throwing his support behind the Texas-style legislation.

“We’re currently in a situation with the existing legislation in place that is being reviewed by the court and that’s a very important process. My sense is that we need to play that out … we have a very clear footprint on our strategy,” Lee told reporters earlier this month.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Abortion-rights protesters attend a rally following the United States Supreme Court's decisi...
Associated Press

Abortion ruling intensifies fight over state supreme courts

Surrounded by states with abortion bans that took effect after Roe v. Wade fell, Illinois is one of the few places where the procedure remains legal in the Midwest. Abortion-rights supporters are worried that might not last. Their concern is shared in at least a half-dozen states, and this year it’s not just about state […]
19 hours ago
FILE - The JPMorgan Chase & Co. logo is displayed at their headquarters in New York on Oct. 21, 201...
Associated Press

Safety deposit boxes headed toward extinction at Chase

NEW YORK (AP) — You’ll no longer be able to store your precious coins, jewelry and paperwork at JPMorgan Chase & Co., as the bank has stopped opening new safety deposit boxes for customers. A spokesman for the bank said Chase decided late last year to stop offering new deposit boxes to customers as a […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

US judge dismisses Mexico lawsuit against gun manufacturers

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A U.S. federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Mexican government against U.S. gun manufacturers arguing their commercial practices has led to bloodshed in Mexico. Judge F. Dennis Saylor in Boston ruled Mexico’s claims did not overcome the broad protection provided to gun manufacturers by the Protection of […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Celina Washburn protests outside the Arizona Capitol to voice her dissent with an abortion r...
Associated Press

Arizona judge won’t suspend ruling that halted all abortions

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona judge on Friday declined to put her order that allowed enforcement of a pre-statehood law making it a crime to provide an abortion on hold, saying abortion right groups that asked her to block the order are not likely to prevail on appeal. The ruling from Pima County Superior Court […]
19 hours ago
A slag pile of mining waste is seen in Anaconda, Mont., on Dec. 15, 2016. A subsidiary of London-ba...
Associated Press

Montana site fouled by copper smelter to get final cleanup

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A subsidiary of London-based oil giant BP agreed to finish its cleanup of a 300-square mile (776-square kilometer) site in Montana that’s contaminated with arsenic and other pollutants from decades of copper smelting, and to repay the U.S. government $48 million in response costs. Under a legal decree filed Friday in […]
19 hours ago
A TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile launch with file imagery, ...
Associated Press

North Korea fires 4th round of missile tests in 1 week

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Saturday fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters, South Korean and Japanese officials said, making it the North’s fourth round of weapons launches this week that are seen as a response to military drills among its rivals. South Korea’s military said that it detected the […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Tennessee lawmakers introduce Texas-styled abortion bill