Republican legislators in Tennessee want fathers to have a say in whether their children can be aborted.
SB 494, introduced Wednesday by state Sen. Mark Pody (R- District 17) would do just that.
“A person may petition a court with jurisdiction over domestic relations matters to request an injunction to prohibit a woman who is pregnant with the person’s unborn child from obtaining an abortion,” the proposed law says.
The law would require that the court holds a hearing within 14 days of the filing, at which both parties would be allowed to present evidence. According to the text of the bill, the court would be required to issue an injunction stopping a woman from obtaining an abortion if three conditions are met.
The conditions are that “[t]he petitioner is the biological father of the respondent’s unborn child,” “[t]here is a reasonable probability that the respondent will seek an abortion prior to giving birth to the unborn child,” and “[i]f the parties are not married, the petitioner has executed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity … that is not subject to be rescinded.”
The bill’s state House counterpart, HB 1079, was introduced Thursday by state Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-TN-35).
The law would be the first of its kind in the nation.
Currently, a pregnant woman is not even legally required to tell her partner if she plans to have an abortion, and the father has no say in whether she goes through with the act.
Tennessee follows Alabama in attempting to protect the rights of the unborn.
In 2019, Alabama passed the Human Life Protection Act, making it a felony for doctors to carry out an abortion except in extreme circumstances, when the mother’s life is at risk.
Though the bill was signed into law, it has yet to be enacted. Legal challenges from pro-abortion groups have forced the state to shelf the bill while litigation proceeds.
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