Democrats Introduce Legislation Reversing State's Abortion Ban

Advocate Andy

Proposed law would place reproductive decisions in the hands of women and their doctors

Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee's House and Senate this week announced the introduction of the "Fundamental Right to Reproductive Health Care Act," a bill that would reverse the state's ban on all abortions.

The legislation, introduced without support from any of the body's Republican majority, would remove all criminal penalties related to abortion in current law. The plan would make clear that decisions about reproductive health fall under the authority of women and their health care providers and that neither should be punished by the government no matter the decision.

“We are here because we envision a world where Tennesseans are free to raise their children in safe, supportive, healthy, and loving communities free from government interference in their personal, family decisions," said Sen. London Lamar of Memphis, who chairs the Senate's Democratic Caucus.

Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville said the current law is unacceptable and that the Democratic proposal restores fundamental rights.

"My state, that I love dearly, has said that women are not equal," said Johnson. "There is no health decision that men are not allowed to make on their own in this state or this country. This is unacceptable."

The legislators were joined by physicians who expressed support for the proposed law.

"I stand here today representing my patients, who have been negatively impacted, and my colleagues who have been criminally implicated due to the trigger ban from August 2022," said Dr. Heather Maune, an obstetrician and gynecologist. "I hope my voice will help politicians understand how complex my job is and to comprehend the specialization it takes to assist patients. I appreciate the opportunity to bring trust back to sacred space of the patient-physician relationship, where no one should interfere with the threat of criminalization. My patients deserve the dignity and freedom to choose how to have a family with appropriate counsel and without government interference.”

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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