After deferring action last week on a bill banning abortion completely, the Tennessee House Health Subcommittee decided to push their decision off until 2022. The “Rule of Law Life Act” was sponsored by State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) initially, and taken up in the House by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster).
As The Tennessee Star reported in early February, the bill saw movement quickly following its introduction. It declared that the Fourteenth Amendment extends the right to life to the unborn, and that life begins at conception.
The Rule of Law Life Act goes far beyond a bill signed into law last July, which sought to limit abortions when the unborn child’s heart begins beating and prevented abortions based on sex, race, or Down Syndrome diagnosis. An hour after it was signed into law, it was blocked partially by a federal district judge. Since then, it has been tied up in litigation.
Other bills seeking to intervene in the abortion process include the “Every Mom Matters Act,” which would require women to complete a consultation with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), free of charge, prior to having an abortion. That bill was assigned last week to the General Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but has yet to receive a hearing date. It hasn’t moved in the House since the beginning of March.
Another bill would allow the father of an unborn child to have the ability to oppose the mother of his child undergoing an abortion. The father would be able to obtain a court injunction to prohibit the abortion. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee deferred action on the bill for another week. It is scheduled to be considered by the House Children & Family Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday.
A third bill would require that the aborted remains of unborn children be buried or cremated. Both the House Health Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee will take it up for consideration on Wednesday.
During Tuesday’s session, the House Health Subcommittee didn’t give reason as to why they deferred the Rule of Law Life Act.
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