Republican Senators Set Out to End Taxpayer Funded Abortions in Tennessee

Photo: Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty

Photo Credit: AP

Published February 1, 2021

On January 22nd in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the decision that women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether or not to have abortions without excessive government restriction.

Abortion legislation has been evolving ever-since, across the country and close to home. Over the summer, Gov. Lee reignited legislative plans to further restrict abortion in Tennessee. 

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

Lee’s legislative agenda that was mostly  abandoned last spring due the coronavirus pandemic, but found new life through last-minute budget negotiations.

That bill was successful in banning abortions after the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is as early as six weeks. The legislation also prohibits the procedure under a variety of other voluntary circumstances.

The bill was passed with Senate rules suspended, as it wasn’t on the chamber’s legislative calendar, and without any members of the public present. 

Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and other abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit against the bill in U.S. District Court in Nashville. Federal courts dismissed some parts of the bill as unconstitutional, but ultimately upholds the legislation. 

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In April, a federal judge blocked the state’s attempt to limit abortion procedure when the governor had placed limits on non-emergency medical procedures because of the coronavirus pandemic. Planned Parenthood challenged one of Lee’s executive orders.

Six months later, a judge further ruled that Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period law for abortions was unconstitutional for placing a “substantial burden” on women who seek abortions in Tennessee.

This law requiring women to make two trips to an abortion clinic, first for mandatory counseling and then for the abortion at least 48 hours later has previously been upheld since 2015. 

However, in November, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of restriction. Announcing that Tennessee can begin outlawing abortions that are being sought in response to a prenatal diagnosis of intellectual disability (Down’s) as well as prohibiting abortions based on the race or gender of the fetus.

While the tug-of-war for abortion legislation has continued between state and federal courts, last week, Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty joined a group of lawmakers looking to create a bill that will end taxpayer-funded abortion.

Tennessee is not alone in pursuing such legislation. Arkansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma have increased restrictive measures as recently as 2019. 

Since 1976, federal law has prohibited use of federal funds for abortions. 

Despite performing hundreds of thousands of abortions every year, organizations like Planned Parenthood have received tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money annually. 

“We must close loopholes that allow for abortion giants like Planned Parenthood to receive federal funding,” said Senator Blackburn. “This legislation will help end taxpayer funded support for the abortion industry and protect the unborn.”

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5 thoughts on “Republican Senators Set Out to End Taxpayer Funded Abortions in Tennessee

  • February 1, 2021 at 4:20 pm
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    I strongly support NOT having tax payer funds go to abortion!!! I am pro-life and don’t want my money to have any part in funding something I stand against.
    I believe in LIMITED government and it’s time for my state representatives in both Congress and the Senate to get to work. I’m sick and tired of Executive Orders rather than our Legislative Branches doing what they were elected to do.

    Reply
    • February 13, 2021 at 12:22 am
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      Thank you Marsha and Bill! Tennesseans by and large do not want taxpayer money to pay for abortions! Thanks for taking a strong stance to Defund abortion providers!

      Reply
  • February 1, 2021 at 9:52 pm
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    This is great news! Thank you for fighting for us tax payers money NOT to be used on abortions in Tn. God tells us that murder is a mortal sin. I’d really love to see abortions made illegal but I’ll take this as a win, or rather a step in the right direction!

    Reply
  • February 1, 2021 at 11:37 pm
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    Thank you to Marsha and Bill for joining the chorus of U.S. Senators, Governor Bill Lee and our Pro-Life State Legislature, to make an ending of taxpayer funded abortion. Governor Lee was correct in telling Kamala Harris that abortion is most certainly NOT ‘health care’ (Thanks Bill!). I believe abortion is murder and despite some base case law in Roe V. Wade, at a very minimum, not a single tax dollar should go to funding abortions.

    Reply
  • May 6, 2021 at 8:16 pm
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    Planned Parenthood should be helping women obtain free birth control, there are so many methods available today that are effective that weren’t available during the Rowe v Wade Era. The costs of birth control have risen and all women should have the right to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
    Planned Parenthood should put their funds into Pap smears, testing for STDs, treatment of STDs and free birth control.
    I don’t believe in Abortions, particularly any government funds applied to Abortions other than Medical intervention.
    Planned Parenthood should be redirected to preventing unwanted pregnancy and funding restricted for that purpose.

    Reply

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