Republican Bills Seek To Add Exceptions To Tennessee Abortion Ban

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Two new bills recently filed by Republican legislators would allow for exceptions to the state’s current abortion ban. 

Under the existing law that took effect after last year’s overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision, all abortions are illegal, no matter the circumstances. These new Republican-backed bills would allow for some abortions that are deemed to be “medically necessary” or performed in cases of rape or incest.

Senate Bill 0983 (SB0983), sponsored by State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston-District 12), would “limit the offense of criminal abortion to only apply to elective abortions.” The bill would also define “elective abortion” as any abortion that is not determined to be medically necessary to “prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

The legislation would only apply to impairments of a physical nature and would not provide legal protection for abortions performed for any reason related to mental health. 

State Representative Esther Helton-Haynes (R-East Ridge-District 30) is sponsoring companion bill HB0778 in the House.

State Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin-District 18) has also filed Senate Bill 0857 (SB0857), which would grant an exception for “an abortion that is performed on a patient whose pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.”

The bill stipulates that the abortion must be performed before 8 weeks for women ages 13 and up or 10 weeks for girls 12 and under.

Additionally, physicians performing these abortions must verify that the rape/incest was reported to the proper authorities and that the patient has gone through all necessary forensic medical exams before the procedure takes place. 

Filing a false report of rape or incest to be able to have an abortion would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in jail.

The companion House Bill 1440 (HB1440) is sponsored by State Representative Iris Rudder (R-Winchester-District 39).

Neither bill has been assigned to a committee or subcommittee at this time. 

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

7 thoughts on “Republican Bills Seek To Add Exceptions To Tennessee Abortion Ban

  • February 3, 2023 at 12:53 am

    Know a man who’s daddy was his grandaddy.
    Glad he wasn’t aborted.

  • February 3, 2023 at 3:15 am

    Rape and incest are enough of a trauma to live with without the results growing in your body for 9 months. It generally takes years of therapy to return to a normal life. This is along the same lines as recovery from PTSD

    • February 3, 2023 at 8:12 pm

      So the child should be killed because they have a criminal father? The mother then will have to recover from rape & killing her child?

      • February 4, 2023 at 12:12 pm

        Plan B. The morning after pill PREVENTS a pregnancy from happening. It should be administered after a rape. No need to have an abortion.

    • February 8, 2023 at 6:19 pm

      Your comment is a complete lie and you are justifying committing a great offense because of the original offense. Shame on you!

  • February 6, 2023 at 3:17 am

    Since when is a 13 year old a woman? 13 to 17 year olds are not adults. And, a prison sentence for a false report? Any girl under 18 who is pregnant is not old enough to consent therefore it is always considered rape. Those exception requirements are unrealistic. A girl’s menstrual cycle is irregular and hard to track for the first several years. She isn’t going to know she’s pregnant by 8 weeks. If a girl hasn’t been taught sex ed, she may not even understand what has been done to her, much less that she has become pregnant. Everyone needs to stop coming after girls and women to persecute and control our bodies. Work to stop men from feeling entitled to take and use us as they please. Stop viewing us as objects. Stop grooming girls to be people pleasers.

    • February 8, 2023 at 6:17 pm

      Stop trying to kill the body of the unborn who LITERALLY has no control and is at the mercy of he or she’s mother to continue living!


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