Tennessee governor signs late-term abortion ban into law

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This week, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the Tennessee Infants Protection Act, a bill banning late-term abortions in the state. The new law, set to take effect July 1, will also “potentially send doctors to jail if they fail to prove in court that an abortion of a viable fetus was necessary to save a woman’s life or prevent substantial or irreversible harm to a ‘major bodily function of a pregnant woman,'” according to USA Today.

While abortion-friendly media attempt to paint late-term abortion as rare while concurrently insisting that it remain legal for any reason, (perhaps unintentionally) reveals the necessity of such a law (emphasis added):

Department of Health abortion data show that less than one-tenth of a percent of all abortions performed in Tennessee occur between 17 and 20 weeks, but the state does not track abortions at 20 weeks or later. … [S]tate officials say it is possible that some include post-20-week abortions.

Abortion proponents attempted – and failed – to include an exception for rape or incest in the bill. The bill “was amended to require two doctors’ opinions on fetal viability” after 20 weeks but “does not contain any exceptions for mental-health risks to the pregnant woman,” writes USA Today. Gov. Haslam called the law a “24-week ban,” explaining that it “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,” said Haslam, “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.”

Preborn baby at approximately 20 weeks

USA Today quoted the nuanced language used by ACLU of Tennessee executive director Hedy Weinberg, in reaction to the law:

“While we may not all agree about the right to abortion, it is important that we support a woman and allow her to make the best decision for her health and personal circumstances — without political interference,” Weinberg said in a statement.

No one on the pro-life side, however, would disagree with such a statement – except when it comes to abortion, in which the decision a woman makes actually affects another human being’s life and health, not just her own.

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