Tennessee Legislature Passes Controversial Fetal Heartbeat Bill
Tennessee legislators have passed a bill on Friday that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Republican governor Bill Lee has expressed support for the measure, saying he will sign it.
According to Lee, the bill will ban abortions upon "detection of a heartbeat that is roughly six weeks into pregnancy."
The governor tweeted that among the essential things a government official can do was "to be pro-family to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in the state, and there is no more vulnerable than the unborn."
He said Tennesse legislators had just passed the strongest "pro-life law" in the history of the state, despite opposition from Democrats.
Ultrasound Required before an Abortion
The bill necessitates an ultrasound to be administered prior to an abortion.
It would also prevent doctors to perform abortion based on the unborn child's race or sex.
Under the bill, physicians are also prohibited to conduct abortion to women seeking the procedure due to a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
More so, while there is an exemption to medical emergencies, there is no exemption in this law for women, who are incest or rape victims.
The measure also require clinics, who provide medical abortions, to post a sign in the waiting and in patient rooms to inform people that reversal to a chemical abortion may be possible.
Violators of the bill would be penalized with a maximum of 15 years imprisonment and would have to pay up to $10,000 fine.
Remarkable Bill Passed
The bill's passage came after weeks of Senate leadership releasing statements that they would not take it up.
For weeks, the bill was put on the shelf as it was not included in the list on the state legislature's calend
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro, a Democrat, said the "60-page bill" was the most remarkable measure they passed this year.
Republicans in the Senate hoped that this anti-abortion bill would make its way to the Supreme Court.
But with the state's approach that is similar to a law passed in Missouri, it did not receive support from the "National Right to Life" and other significant anti-abortion advocates.
The White House has maintained in recent weeks that they have a plan to move forward with the bill.
Some abortion rights group have previously vowed to challenge the legislation.
Similar fetal heartbeat bills have already been struck down in Mississippi, Ohio, and other states.
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