Tennessee Senate Passes Bill Criminalizing Abortion Trafficking Of Minors

Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

The state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would make it a criminal offense to assist minors in obtaining an abortion. This legislation specifically mentions transporting minors across state lines.

Senate Bill 1971 (SB1971), sponsored by Senator Paul Rose (R-Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tipton Counties-District 32), states, “As introduced, creates the criminal offense of abortion trafficking of a minor; provides for a civil action against a person committing the offense of abortion trafficking of a minor for the wrongful death of an unborn child that was aborted.”


Senator Rose has stated that the bill is a parental protection plan, requiring parental permission for a minor to be transported for the purpose of having an abortion. 

“We’ve decided abortion is only available to save the life of the mother,” said Republican Senator Paul Rose. “Unless the parents approve, you cannot take a minor across state lines to get an abortion.”

The new legislation states that those who are convicted of breaking the law will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which could require up to a year in prison. In the House, though, supporters want the penalty to be a Class C Felony, which could require up to a 15-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines. 

Critics of the bill have argued that it could mean that minors who are raped or are victims of incest would need permission from their parents, who could be their abuser, to obtain an abortion.

The bill passed with a vote of 26 Ayes and 3 Nays. One senator was recorded as present but not voting.

The General Assembly website records the votes as follows:

Present and not voting……………….1

Senators voting aye were: Bailey, Bowling, Briggs, Crowe, Gardenhire, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Lowe, Lundberg, Massey, Niceley, Pody, Powers, Reeves, Roberts, Rose, Southerland, Stevens, Taylor, Walley, Watson, White, Yager, Mr. Speaker McNally — 26.

Senators voting no were: Akbari, Campbell, Yarbro — 3.

Senators present and not voting were: Swann — 1.

The companion House Bill 1895 (HB1895), sponsored by Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville-District 14), passed the House Health Committee before it was placed behind Governor Lee’s budget on March 6. It is unknown if the bill will be revived after the passage of Senate Bill 1971. 

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