NASHVILLE, Tennessee – State Representative Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough) is bringing forward a bill that will protect the unborn by banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Van Huss told The Tennessee Star that his bill, HB 0077 – carried by Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) in the Senate as SB 1236 – defines a viable pregnancy as opposed to a viable fetus.
According to Van Huss’s amendment that makes the bill, the terms “viable” and “viability” mean the presence of an intrauterine fetus with a heartbeat.
Van Huss explained to The Star, “After a viable pregnancy, there cannot be an abortion, and a viable pregnancy is after the heartbeat is detected.”
As the sponsor of the bill, Van Huss said he believes the bill to be constitutional and added that the Supreme Court has only ever heard and argued a viable fetus – being able to live outside the womb – not a viable pregnancy.
Should it be challenged after the bill passes, Van Huss said he is hopeful that the court “will err on the side of life, that they will see the rights that our unborn have.”
Van Huss brought a Heartbeat Bill during the 110th Tennessee General Assembly as HB 0108, which took two years to wind its way through the legislature. When it finally did pass, it was scaled back to a simple heartbeat reporting measure rather than a ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The opposition then – including Tennessee Right to Life – argued primarily that the timing wasn’t right for a heartbeat abortion ban because of its likelihood of a legal challenge to the Supreme Court.
That weighed heavily on Van Huss, as he told The Star, because it meant that another 4,000 babies would be killed while waiting for the right time to act.
In a brief but powerful statement to The Star Van Huss said, “We cannot continue to allow the slaughter of the unborn while we hope for better circumstances, and we should not cede this responsibility to the next generation years down the road.”
In his statement, Van Huss thanked Governor Lee and State House Speaker Casada, and Lt. Governor McNally “for their leadership on this issue.”
Van Huss’s HB 0077, which currently has 47 Republican co-sponsors, will be heard in the Public Health Subcommittee on February 20, 2019, at 2 p.m.