Image Credit: Texas Alliance For Life
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
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 could go into effect and outlaw the procedure statewide sometime in July.
According to the way the law was written, it is now up to the Attorney General to notify the Tennessee Code Commission and within 30 days of that notification abortion will be banned in the state under most circumstances.
The Human Life Protection Act passed in 2019 criminalizes “performing or attempting to perform an abortion, except in extreme cases where it is necessary to prevent death or serious and permanent bodily injury to the mother” making it a Class C felony for physicians. Women seeking to end a pregnancy are not subject to prosecution.
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Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk has said that he will refuse to prosecute abortion cases.
“With regard to reproductive issues, the criminal law must not be used by the State to exercise control over a woman’s body,” Funk has said. “As long as I am the elected District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District, I will not prosecute any woman who chooses to have a medical procedure to terminate a pregnancy or any medical doctor who performs this procedure at the request of their patient.”
The trigger law is just one of several abortion-related bills passed in Tennessee since 2019. A heartbeat law that would prevent an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy is currently the subject of litigation. If the U.S. District Court in Nashville lifts an injunction against the law, it would go into effect immediately.
On Friday, the office of Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed an emergency motion to have the injunction removed.
The heartbeat law makes it a Class C felony, punishable by three to fifteen years in prison, for a doctor to perform an abortion once a heartbeat is detected. The law was subject to challenges within an hour of Governor Bill Lee signing it. Lee said at the time that it makes Tennessee “one of the most pro-life states in America.” The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated part of the law early this year for reasons such as race, gender, or genetic abnormality.
Tennessee leaders and conservative groups made statements on Friday about the historic Supreme Court decision:
Tennessee Right to Life: [We applaud] the U.S. Supreme Court’s courageous decision to overturn its own precedent in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in today’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The justices, in a 5-4 decision to overturn Roe and 6-3 decision to uphold Mississippi’s 15 week ban, voted to no longer recognize a federal constitutional right to abortion and, thus, return the issue of abortion regulation to the states and their elected Representatives and Senators…
“This is a historic moment that we have been fighting for and working toward since our organization was founded in the wake of Roe,” said President Stacy Dunn.
Tennessee Right to Life is the state of Tennessee’s oldest and largest pro-life organization… In 2014, the group was instrumental in passing Amendment 1, which codified that there was no right to abortion in Tennessee’s state constitution.
Tennessee State Representative Jason Zachary: Incredible! This will save, literally, millions of lives. Praise the Lord!
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn: Having worked alongside Tennesseans to protect the innocent lives of unborn children for years, I applaud today’s Supreme Court ruling. Despite false claims from the left, this decision will not ban abortion. Instead, it returns the decision to the states and empowers state legislatures with more flexibility to craft policy through the democratic process. It is unacceptable that a draft opinion was leaked in advance and that the person responsible has not been caught. The leaker has jeopardized the safety of our justices, and threats of violence by the radical militant mob are unacceptable. We appreciate the brave law enforcement officers working overtime to protect our justices and their families.
Karen England, Capitol Resource Institute: During its life of almost 50 years, Roe impacted us all, including more than 63 million that were never able to witness their first sunrise. And now Roe is gone.
As in the previously leaked draft opinion, Justice Samuel Alito details why Roe was legally flawed from its very beginning and should have never been birthed by an activist court. And with this final opinion, we now see the full reasoning for Roe being struck down.
While the reaction of the nation could largely be predicted, we are only beginning to see the specific details: threats of violence and lawlessness.
Roe vs. Wade will not rest in peace. To the detriment of all, as during its life now upon its death, Roe vs. Wade will be the source of violence, lawlessness and the death of many.
Tennessee Republican Party: For half a century, Roe vs. Wade has been the law of our land and we applaud the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to reverse course and allow the States to determine questions of life. We are proud that our work in Tennessee by electing good, pro-life Republicans has produced a long legacy of leadership that values the culture of life. However we know the fight for life does not end today, it merely shifts the debate from Washington to all the State Houses across the country and serves as a reminder that our struggle is not complete. The prayers of millions and the actions of many were answered today as we all rejoice in the gift of life on this day.
U.S. Representative John Rose: Today’s ruling will ensure a brighter future for our country, one built on life and a new generation of hope. The high court was right to return this decision to state legislatures and Congress. Tens of millions of voices have been silenced since a liberal, activist court ruled, incorrectly, that the right to an abortion is implied in the 14th amendment in its 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade. There is more work to be done, and I will proudly continue the fight to protect life.
Students for Life of America: Roe vs. Wade, a pile of verifiable legal garbage that is responsible for the deaths of more than 63 million preborn children is FINALLY on the ash heap of history where it belongs.
U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty: I believe we have a moral duty to protect unborn children who cannot protect themselves. Today is a consequential day, not only for those who believe that all life is a precious gift, but also for American democracy and the rule of law. This decision doesn’t ban abortion—it simply returns decision-making on abortion to the people. That’s how it should be in a republic—matters not addressed by the Constitution should be decided by the people through their elected representatives, not by nine unelected judges in Washington, D.C. I will continue to strongly advocate for pro-life policies that safeguard our children and our families.
Timothy Head, Executive Director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition: [We applaud] the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling… and affirm the constitutional right to life and liberty for ALL. We join with the millions of pro-life Americans across the country today in celebrating this monumental victory nearly 50 years in the making.
Without question, today is a day for rejoicing. For almost 50 years, pro-life Americans have been praying and working to protect innocent life. Today, we have seen that our prayers were being heard and our labor was not in vain. But the fight for life remains in America. This decision will only embolden abortion activists to pressure individual states to pass radical pro-abortion legislation. In fact, nearly 100 local prosecutors across the country already have stated they will not enforce pro-life statutes in their jurisdictions. The pro-abortion movement will not let up, so neither can we. One of the most powerful ways pro-life Americans can continue the fight for life is by showing up at the polls this November and voting for candidates for federal, state, and local offices that support our God-given right to life. Today’s ruling is a powerful reminder that, in America, our vote truly can shape history.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.