abortion

Ohio law — similar to TN ‘defunding Planned Parenthood’ bill — voided by appeals court

A federal appeals court has ruled Ohio’s efforts to cut off Planned Parenthood from receiving funds for preventive health programs violate the organization’s First Amendment rights, according to the Washington Post. And the News Sentinel’s Jamie Satterfield observes the Ohio law is similar to one recently approved by the Tennessee legislature.

Continue reading

Senate sends ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ bill to governor

The state Senate Thursday approved and sent to the governor a bill promoted as “defunding” Planned Parenthood. It requires TennCare officials to submit a waiver request to the federal government for ending any payments to “elective abortion providers’ – even if those payments are for health care services other than abortions.

The bill (HB2251, as amended) was approved 24-2 in the Senate with Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) as sponsor. It was approved by the House 71-17 on March 13 with Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) as sponsor.

Continue reading

In Nashville visit, Pence praises Trump, Black for anti-abortion efforts

Vice President Mike Pence used his latest visit to Nashville to offer support for the anti-abortion movement and reassure those gathered at a Christian broadcasting conference that the Trump administration will be the most vociferous supporter yet of issues important to evangelicals, reports The Tennessean.

Continue reading

Abortion legislation update: ‘Heartbeat bill’ dies, monument to ‘unborn’ and defunding bills arise

The so-called “heartbeat bill,” perhaps the most controversial measure on abortions pending in the Legislature this year, fell by the wayside last week in a House subcommittee. But anti-abortion legislators came up with some new bills.

-Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) and Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) propose commissioning of a “Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children” that would be placed on state capitol grounds. (HB2381).

-Sen. Mike Bell (R-Athens) and Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) introduced HB2251 with the declared goal of defunding Planned Parenthood in Tennessee, though the filed bill does not do so directly.

Continue reading

Van Huss pushes ‘heartbeat bill’ against wishes of some anti-abortion activists

Even though some anti-abortion activists oppose the idea, state Rep. Micah Van Huss says he will push for a vote on the so-called “heartbeat bill” to prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It’s scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in the House Health Subcommittee, the panel that voted 5-4 to in 2017 to postpone any action until 2018, a move Van Huss now says “in essence doomed over 3,500 babies to death.”

Continue reading

Matlock push to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood bashed by Democrats

State Rep. Jimmy Matlock, a candidate for the Republican nomination to the 2nd Congressional District seat, has announced a push for passage of legislation to totally “defund” Planned Parenthood in Tennessee, contending there is currently a “false narrative” that no taxpayer dollars support the organization.

Legislative Democrats held a news conference Wednesday to denounce the bill, reports the News Sentinel (with Tennessean input), and a Planned Parenthood spokesperson said the proposal would have a “devastating impact” on preventive care services for women such as birth control and cancer screenings.

Continue reading

Appeals court upholds TN constitutional amendment on abortion

By a 3-0 vote, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected a legal challenge to the 2014 vote that added an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution dealing with abortion, overturning a lower federal court ruling that called for a recount. The 6th Circuit decision, on the other hand, is in line with a state court ruling.

Continue reading

TN Planned Parenthood leader stepping down after 17 years

Jeff Teague, long-time president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, has announced he is leaving the group Friday to “explore other opportunities,” reports the Times Free Press.

The group provides reproductive health services, including abortion, and has been at the center of any number of political and court battles in Tennessee over the years. It operates centers in Nashville and Knoxville.

Continue reading

Haslam signs bill that, he says, is NOT a ’20-week abortion ban’

Gov. Bill Haslam today signed into law the latest bill restricting abortion in Tennessee, despite some calls for a veto. Here’s the gubernatorial statement sent to media:

“I have reviewed the final language of SB 1180/HB 1189 and its potential impact.

“The Tennessee Infants Protection Act prohibits purposely performing post-viability abortions, except when a physician determines in his or her good faith medical judgment that either the unborn child is not viable or that the procedure is necessary to prevent serious risk to the mother.  Rather than being a “20-week abortion ban,” as some have described it, the bill requires physicians to assess viability beginning at 20 weeks gestational age, absent a medical emergency.

 “The Tennessee Attorney General has said he would defend this law, and the United States Supreme Court has not yet decided the mental health exception issue discussed in the Attorney General’s opinion. For those reasons, I have signed this legislation into law.”

UPDATE/Note: Here are a couple of contrasting press release reactions:

Continue reading

Legislature gives final approval to ban on abortions after 20 weeks

The House voted 68-18 Wednesday to send the governor a bill that generally prohibits abortions in Tennessee after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The Senate approved the measure with a 27-3 vote Monday and Gov. Bill Haslam is virtually certain to sign it.

The House vote, pretty much along partisan lines, came after defeat of Democrat-sponsored amendments, including one by Rep. Brenda Gilmore of Nashville that would have excluded pregnancies involving rape or incest from the bill’s provisions.

“With this legislation we have an opportunity to show that we do protect and respect life in Tennessee,” said Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, House sponsor of the measure, in his closing comments after debate.

On the other side, Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, said the measure is unfair to women and, “What you need to do is punish men who can’t keep their pants on and their zippers up.”’

Continue reading