TN Bill To Prohibit Local Governments From Using Taxpayer Dollars To Fund Abortions Passes Senate
Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov
The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –
On the senate floor yesterday, a bill sponsored by State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald-District 28), that aims to prevent any city, county, or metropolitan government from spending taxpayer dollars for the purposes of directly or indirectly assisting a person in obtaining an abortion passed along party lines.
SB0600 as introduced, prohibits local governments from expending funds for the purposes of assisting a person in obtaining an abortion. – Amends TCA Title 5; Title 6; Title 7 and Title 8.
The need for the law is due to the fact that while there is currently a ban on abortion in the state of Tennessee, there is no explicit law that makes assisting anyone who is attempting to obtain an abortion elsewhere illegal.
In the wake of the overturning of Roe Vs Wade earlier in 2022, Metro Nashville proposed a $500,000 grant to help provide funds for anyone who would seek to obtain an abortion out of state. It was due to this effort to thwart the abortion ban, that a law to keep public funds from being utilized improperly for the purposes of obtaining an abortion, is necessary.
After the bill was presented on the floor and Senator Hensley described the purpose of the bill, Senator Hensley explained the adage of an amendment to the bill which changed the wording in the bill from “abortion” to “criminal abortion”.
The difference, he explained, is that in the code there is a definition for the term “criminal abortion” which includes an abortion that is only done for the sole purpose of saving the life of the mother, and also includes the necessity of an “affirmative defense” in the case that an abortion is performed.
In such a case, the provider would have the burden of proving, in a potential criminal trial, the need for the procedure and thus absolving them from violating the abortion laws.
There were some questions and commentary from some of those on the floor that objected to the bill.
Senator London Lamar (D-D33-Memphis) inquired about the effect of the bill on hospitals that receive taxpayer dollars, assisting anyone they felt medically qualified for an abortion and facilitated out of the area care. Since a medically necessary abortion is allowed in Tennessee, then it follows that there would be no issue with criminality in that case.
Senator Heidi Campbell (D-D20-Nashville) opined that the current abortion ban is driving OBGYN’s out of the state, and that “women are terrified in our state because their healthcare is being taken away”, and the addition of this bill will compound those issues. There was no offering of any data by Senator Campbell to support her assertions.
After the brief question period, the vote was conducted and the bill passed with Aye’s at 27, and 6 Nay’s, along party lines.
Having passed both chambers, the bill will make its way to Governor Lee’s desk, and will take immediate effect once signed, the public welfare requiring it.
About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member. Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at email@example.com.