Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee and other officials announced Thursday they will submit pro-life legislation to the Tennessee General Assembly durable enough to survive a court challenge and even a left-leaning judge.
The bill would prohibit abortion where a fetal heartbeat exists. If passed into law, the bill would require mothers to have ultrasounds before and if they have an abortion. This legislation also says doctors cannot perform abortions if they know the procedure is motivated by the unborn child’s race, sex, health, or disability diagnosis.
This, according to a press release Lee’s office released Thursday.
I believe that every human life is precious, and we have a responsibility to stand up for our most vulnerable. Today, Tennessee takes a monumental step towards celebrating, cherishing, and defending life at every stage.https://t.co/Rbqzk2XYTV pic.twitter.com/DEcOMxCih8
— Governor Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) January 23, 2020
State Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, told The Tennessee Star the bill, if passed, “will have an extraordinarily good chance when the pro-abortion folks try to come after it in the courts.”
This is especially if the unborn child is known to have a heartbeat, Lamberth said.
“A judge may feel like the child does not deserve protecting, and it can still be killed in the womb at say six or eight weeks or whenever they have determined they found a heartbeat. So, if a judge were to strike that down then this bill says ‘OK, judge, you don’t believe that that’s life, but we do. How about 10 weeks? OK, 10 weeks, you don’t believe it’s life. How about 12 weeks? How about 16? How about 18? How about 20?’” Lamberth said.
“That way, if some liberal judge somewhere strikes this down then they will have to go through every single stage of that and hear factual, scientific testimony at each stage in order to make a finding, and that is exactly what we want to happen. I know that child is life in the womb. Scientifically, it is obviously life.”
State Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mount Juliet, told The Star that Lee’s office will finalize the language on the bill within the next few weeks.
In an emailed statement, Laura Bagby, spokeswoman for the Family Action Council of Tennessee, told The Star:
“We appreciate and share the Governor’s passion for the sanctity of life. We also appreciate the offer he has made for us to provide input on the matter, and look forward to working with him and the legislature toward our shared goal of defending life at every stage.”
Tennessee Right to Life also emailed a statement to The Star.
“Tennessee Right to Life is grateful to serve in a pro-life state where voters approved an amendment to the constitution making pro-life protections and policies possible,” said Brian Harris, the organization’s president. “We are also grateful that voters have elected a pro-life governor and majorities in the legislature. We look forward to seeing the proposed language of the omnibus bill,” Harris added.
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Editors Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Family Action Council of Tennessee supports the bill. Their actual statement is included above.