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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
The “Tennessee Abortion-Inducing Drug Risk Protocol Act”, a bill that would penalize physicians for prescribing abortion inducing drugs via telehealth appointments, has been signed into law with the signature of Governor Bill Lee.
Current Tennessee law prohibits physicians from performing, or attempting to perform, any abortion procedure if the patient is not physically present at the appointment. This includes the prescribing of medications to induce abortion if the doctor is not physically with the patient at the time.
House Bill 2416, sponsored by Representative Debra Moody (R-Covington-District 81) and Senate Bill 2281, sponsored by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville-District 9), reiterates detailed procedures for the administration and distribution of these abortion inducing medications. It also adds a penalty if a doctor in Tennessee provides a chemical abortion medication via a telehealth visit.
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Physicians who are found to be in violation of the law would be committing a Class E felony, which is punishable with a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to 20 years in jail. They could also be subject to professional disciplinary action of suspension or revocation of their license.
The bill also would allow for a civil malpractice suit to be brought against the offending physician.
Throughout the subcommittee and committee process, only Democrats voted No on the bill, with Republicans voting unanimously every step of the way.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally signed the bill on April 25th and the bill was transmitted to the Governor for action on April 26th. Lee signed the bill on May 5th, 2022.
The most recent amendment to the bill was introduced on March 11th in the Senate and adopted by the House.
Amendment 015315 states: “Enacts the Tennessee Abortion Inducing Drug Risk Protocol Act. States that an abortion-inducing drug may be provided only by a qualified physician and sets the procedures that must be taken by that physician prior to and following providing an abortion-inducing drug. Creates a Class E felony for anyone who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly violates this act. States that failure to comply with this act provides a basis for a civil malpractice action against a healthcare provider.”
Section 6 of the legislation states that for rule promulgation purposes, the act takes effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it. For all other purposes, the act takes effect January 1, 2023.
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 news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com