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:

News release from Tennessee Right to Life

Nashville, May 12, 2017 –The state’s oldest and largest pro-life organization publicly thanked Governor Bill Haslam on Friday for his announced intention to sign into law the Tennessee Infant Protection Act (SB 1180).  The bill strengthens protections for unborn children and abortion-vulnerable women and girls by preventing elective abortions, except in rare instances, after an unborn child is determined to be viable (able to survive with or without medical assistance.) The provision also establishes a presumption of viability at 24 weeks of pregnancy (LMP) and requires a medical assessment to gauge viability of any unborn child when an abortion is sought beginning at 20 weeks of gestational age.
“Tennessee Right to Life thanks Governor Haslam for his demonstrated commitment to doing everything possible constitutionally to defend and protect vulnerable unborn children,” said Brian Harris, the organization’s president.  “His administration has been tireless in supporting common-sense measures which affirm the dignity human life in our state and pro-life Tennesseans are clearly very grateful to the Governor,” Harris said.
Earlier this month, the pro-life measure was overwhelmingly passed by the state Senate 27-3 and in the state House 69-18. The Tennessee Infant Protection Act will take effect July 1, 2017.
News release from Tennessee Democratic Party

Nashville, Tenn. (May 12, 2017) – Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, released the following statement on Gov. Haslam signing the 20-week abortion ban:

“Once again, Gov. Haslam has sided with the extremists in his party over the well being of Tennesseans. Gov. Haslam should know that if Republicans legitimately wanted to find real solutions to this serious issue they would help Democrats do so through smart public policy, like age-appropriate reproductive health education that includes teaching abstinence and access to affordable healthcare and contraception. Tennessee Republicans have no answers for the 364,000 people who are uninsured and have no access to health care and they have done nothing for the over 300,000 children living in poverty in our state. It is not surprising that they focus on the most divisive issues they can find and people are tired of it.”

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

  • Michael Lottman says:

    This bill serves no purpose other than to create further division around an issue that is already settled and to provide more business for lawyers. The governor knows better than to sign this bill and ought to be ashamed of himself.

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