New Bill Would Institute Felony Charges For Abortion Trafficking Of Pregnant Tennessee Minors (Update 2.9.24)

****Update 2.9.24 – HB1895 was rolled this week and has now been rescheduled to be heard by the House Population Health Subcommittee on 2/13/24. To voice your support or opposition to HB1895, find the subcommittee members contact info HERE and contact them prior to their meeting.****

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The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

Newly proposed state legislation would make it a felony offense for adults to participate in “abortion trafficking” by assisting minors in obtaining an out-of-state abortion without parental consent.

House Bill 1895 (HB1895) was filed by State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville-District 14) on Monday. As of Wednesday, Senator Paul Rose (Republican-Lauderdale,Shelby,Tipton Counties-District 32) is a Senate sponsor of the bill (SB1971). 

If passed, the bill would make it a Class C felony for any individual who “recruits, harbors or transports” a pregnant minor out-of-state for the purpose of receiving a “criminal abortion” or “conceals an act constituting a criminal abortion.”. Parents or legal guardians would be exempted from the law.

The bill would also allow the individuals to face civil charges in which the teenage mother or her parents could bring a lawsuit against the adult who helped to obtain the abortion. Biological fathers could also sue the adult, unless the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest as defined by Tennessee law.

A similar law that was recently passed in Idaho was temporarily blocked by a federal judge after a lawsuit was brought against it, challenging the law’s possible infringement on the Fourth Amendment right to interstate travel.

Zachary said that his goal of this proposal was to stop those who are looking to bypass the state’s current abortion laws and are “looking to take advantage of vulnerable minors” by helping a minor obtain an abortion.

“I’m going to always take every step possible to protect life. We’ve done that in our state and I believe we have a mandate to do that based on the makeup of our legislature,” Zachary stated.

Opponents of the bill say that this is legislators’ way of trying to “police people trying to access legal care in other states.”

They also argue that it puts minors who are in abusive homes in a difficult spot by putting them at risk of physical or emotional abuse if they are forced to disclose sexual activity or pregnancy. 

Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi said, “This bill makes criminals out of trusted adults, including other family members, who can help in these circumstances.”

The bill was filed on the anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade. If passed, it will go into effect on July 1, 2024. 

One thought on “New Bill Would Institute Felony Charges For Abortion Trafficking Of Pregnant Tennessee Minors (Update 2.9.24)

  • January 25, 2024 at 7:12 pm

    There needs to be a judicial bypass provision.


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