Just under a month after the Tennessee Legislature passed House Bill 2263 banning abortions after a preborn child’s heartbeat can be detected (around six weeks), Governor Bill Lee signed it into state law. Then, a federal judge instantly blocked it from going into effect.
The law would have banned abortion due to a preborn child’s sex or race, or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
I'm proud to sign the Heartbeat Bill into law today. Watch here: https://t.co/umIjINUV9T
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) July 13, 2020
As previously reported by Live Action News:
According to the Tennessean, this heartbeat bill differs from others that have been challenged in the courts because it includes additional abortion restrictions. If the courts strike down the heartbeat ban (note: the heartbeat can usually be detected at five to six weeks gestation), this measure automatically goes on to enact abortion bans at eight, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 weeks of gestation.
According to News Channel 3 Memphis, Lee made a video statement on the signing. In the video, Lee said, “Life is precious and everything that is precious is worthy protecting. We know that in Tennessee and I certainly know that in my heart, which is why we worked so hard together with the legislature to make sure that this piece of legislation got done.”
However, Channel 3 also noted that U.S. District Judge William Campbell in Nashville granted a temporary restraining order to Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights, who “filed the lawsuit hours after the bill passed.” Campbell said he is “bound by the Supreme Court holdings prohibiting undue burdens on the availability of pre-viability abortions.” The news outlet added:
Supporters of these type of bills hope lawsuits over them head to an increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of ending the constitutional right to abortion protected under the 1973 Roe v. Wade landmark ruling.
Lee, who announced the legislation in January alongside Republican lawmakers, said during a livestream from his desk Monday that he was signing “arguably the most conservative, pro-life piece of legislation in the country.”
Plaintiffs seeking to block the law quickly let the court know it was signed and became effective immediately, “meaning that nearly all abortions in Tennessee have been criminalized.” The court’s ruling followed shortly after, keeping the law blocked pending a July 24 hearing.
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