The Senate sponsor of the ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) requested that the bill be recalled from the Judiciary Committee and be moved to the Senate floor.
The Heartbeat Bill failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, when the Committee Chairman Mike Bell (R-Riceville) made the motion for summer study.
As reported by The Tennessee Star, Sen. Pody expressed his disappointment that the bill, which would ban abortions in Tennessee once a fetal heartbeat is detected – usually about six weeks after conception – was opposed by Tennessee Right To Life.
In stark contrast to Tennessee Right To Life, Ohio’s Right To Life organization supported the state’s Heartbeat Bill, as The Star reported. Ohio Right To Life viewed the Heartbeat Bill as the next step in an incremental approach, a spokesperson told The Star, the timing for which seemed right with the new make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court.
It’s not as though Ohio’s bill did not have its opposition from Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice and the Ohio legislature’s Democrats who, as reported, criticized the bill.
As the sponsor of SB 1236, Sen. Pody made the recall request on Monday, directing it to the Chief Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey and copying Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Governor Randy McNally and the Senate members.
The request by Sen. Pody is in accordance with Rule 63 of the Temporary Rules of Order of the Senate for the 111th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee as adopted on January 8, 2019.
Rule 63 titled Recall states, “After any bill or other matter shall have been for seven (7) legislative days in any standing committee, the same may be called for by a majority of the members to which the body is entitled under the Constitution and placed upon the calendar of the Senate. Such action shall be in order only after a notice signed by the Sponsor giving the number of the bill to be called for has been filed with and announced by the Clerk at least one (1) day prior to offering a motion to withdraw said bill from the Committee in which it is held. When a bill has been recalled from a committee to which it was assigned by the Speaker or from the Committee on Calendar, it shall be placed at the foot of the calendar on the next day on which general bills are considered.”
Sen. Pody specified that the request is for the Heartbeat Bill to be moved from the Judiciary Committee and be heard on the Senate floor this week.
In the House, a recall motion was made by Rep. Ron Gant (R-Rossville) on the Human Life Protection Act, another abortion ban bill. The “trigger bill” will make abortions in Tennessee illegal upon the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Human Life Protection Act failed in a House Subcommittee, and was successfully recalled to be heard in the House Health Committee Tuesday, as reported by The Star.
The House version of the Heartbeat Bill, HB 0077, passed the full body on March 7 by a vote of 65 Ayes 21 Nays and 7 Present Not Voting.
The Senate version, SB 1236, currently has 11 of the 33 Senators, 26 of whom are Republicans, signed on to the bill.
In addition, two Senators not currently signed on to the bill, Paul Rose (R-Tipton and Shelby Counties) and Art Swann (R-Maryville) both told The Star they would be inclined to vote in favor of the Heartbeat Bill if it made it to the Senate floor.
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.