Pastor Dale Walker, President of the Tennessee Pastors Network , is urging members of the Tennessee State Senate to support Senator Mark Pody’s efforts to bring his Heartbeat Bill (SB1236) to a vote in the full Senate. The House version of the Heartbeat Bill, HB 0077, passed the full House on March 7 by an overwhelming vote of 65 Ayes 21 Nays and 7 Present Not Voting. The Senate version was sent to Summer Study by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is where bills Leadership wants to kill are sent to languish. Senator Pody is relying on Senate Rule 63 to seek to immediately bring the bill directly to the full Senate for a vote.
“Senators are faced with a clear choice to either support or not support unborn life with their vote on the Rule 63 motion,” Walker noted. “A vote against bringing this bill to the Senate for an up or down vote is a vote to kill it and is a vote for virtually unrestricted abortions to continue in Tennessee. A vote for the bill to proceed — and a vote for it in the Senate — is the only actual pro-Life position.”
“It’s outrageous that some Senators are hiding behind Tennessee Right to Life’s opposition to this bill. Other states have passed similar legislation in recent weeks that protect unborn babies once their heartbeat begins. They have done so with the full and active support of their own state right to life organizations,” Walker added. “The problem in Tennessee is our so-called right to life organization, not this bill!”
The Senate version of the Heartbeat Bill currently has 11 of the 33 Senators, 26 of whom are Republicans, as co-sponsors. In addition, two Senators not currently signed on to the bill, Paul Rose (R-Tipton) and Art Swann (R-Maryville) have both said they would vote in favor of the Heartbeat Bill if it made it to the Senate floor. 17 votes are needed to bring invoke Rule 63, and 17 votes are needed to secure passage of the bill.