Senator Richard Briggs Waffles On Commitment To Tennessee’s Anti-Abortion Law

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Senator Richard Briggs who voted ‘Yes’ on Tennessee’s Human Life Protection Act that became law on May 15th, 2019 would now like to see the law changed to offer clear exceptions.

According to ProPublica, when Briggs voted ‘Yes’ on the abortion ban, he never thought it would actually go into effect with his vote being more of a political statement.  

But, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 landmark decision related to abortion and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, another abortion-related decision from 1992, Tennessee’s trigger law has become reality effectively banning abortions across the state.

Briggs (R-District 7- Knox County), who was reelected to office in the midterms, told voters that he would like to see the law altered to offer “clear exceptions” for cases of rape, incest, severe fetal anomalies and cases where the mother’s life or health are at risk.

Several fellow Republicans have also expressed that they might be open to changes to the law.

Referencing the potential for prosecution for people who provide abortion services, Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R-District 6-Knox County) said, “We need to make clear what the trigger law meant. Doctors should be concerned about saving the life of a mom.”

After first stating his support for Tennessee’s trigger law calling it a “monumental win for life,” Representative Jason Zachary (R-District 14-Knox County) said, “I’m certainly open to reviewing recommendations from medical professionals that would bring more clarity to our legislative intent.”

In a statement to 10News, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-District 5-Oak Ridge) said he would evaluate bills to adjust the trigger law “as they make their way through the committee system.”

Senator Briggs, who is a cardiologist in Farragut, stated that Pro-Life advocates skirt around healthcare questions that the trigger law does not address.

“They really don’t want me talking when I bring up these medical issues,” Briggs said. “Because the medical issues are a lot more complex.”

Tennessee Right to Life proposed the trigger law in 2019 and Briggs confesses that he barely read the two-page bill when it was forwarded to his office.  

Briggs stated that he followed the lead of his colleagues, who reportedly assured lawmakers the bill included medical exceptions.  Briggs even added his name as a co-sponsor.

In addition, when a Senate Democrat proposed alterations to the bill to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest, Briggs didn’t counter the ‘Nay’ vote.

In year’s past, Briggs earned a 100% rating by the Tennessee Right to Life’s scorecard for Pro-Life legislators.  But, now that pushback to the abortion ban has grown, Briggs now seems to be in agreement with medical providers that the law has gone too far.

In an op-ed submitted to The Tennessee Conservative by William Reynolds, Tennessee State Captain for Students for Life Action, the prevailing belief of Pro-Life advocates in regards to the Human Life Protection Act are outlined.

Reynolds writes that now that the Human Life Protection Act is in effect, “Contrary to the abortion lobby’s alarmist rhetoric, there are no dead bodies in the streets, no women being denied life-saving treatment, and nobody will be investigated simply for having a miscarriage. Instead, lives are being saved through this ban on the murder of innocent human beings.”

“Because of the Human Life Protection Act , each and every Tennessean, no matter how small, is guaranteed the right to life, a huge step forward in the fight for human rights for all Americans, born and unborn,” Reynolds writes, “That’s why the pro-life movement will continue to stand for science, logic and love by opposing any and all attempts by pro-abortion Democrats and weak kneed, unprincipled Republicans in the state legislature to amend or weaken our current abortion ban in any way.”

“No matter when or how they are conceived, each and every unborn child has the right to life. Being conceived in rape or incest does not lessen their humanity, their value or their worthiness to be protected by this state. The abortion lobby’s shocking use of victims of tragic circumstances such as rape in the wake of the Dobbs decision is a sickening exposé of the culture of death that has a stranglehold on our country.  Human beings are not disposable, no matter what,” Reynolds closes.

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

2 thoughts on “<strong>Senator Richard Briggs Waffles On Commitment To Tennessee’s Anti-Abortion Law</strong>

  • November 17, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    What!? These “rock ribbed, true blue, Republican leaders” weren’t leaders after all, they didn’t read the bill, were following the lead of other legislators, need to make clear what the trigger law meant. Not sure I would believe what these people say because after all they are politicians.

  • November 18, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    I love the way politicians play the CYA game. “I didn’t read the bill” but I signed it should be grounds for instant dismissal from the Legislature. Every damn one of you were elected to represent Tn. voters to the best of your ability. Sounds like a whole squadron of you dropped the ball because you believed the Supreme Court would never throw out Roe-Wade. I do believe there has to been explicit exceptions to outright banning of abortion. I also believe such procedures should be performed in hospitals, not “abortion clinics.” To me, abortion is not an acceptable form of birth control.


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