Doctors Express Concern Over Abortion Amendment

Advocate Andy

New amendment would limit physician options in complicated pregnancies

A group of Tennessee doctors affiliated with the healthcare advocacy group Protect My Care are expressing concern over a new legislative amendment that would limit the options physicians have during a pregnancy when a mother's life is in danger.

The amendment, filed to SB983/HB778 limits the circumstances under which a physician may perform an abortion if the life of the expectant mother is in danger.

Doctors said the original bill provides adequate protection for both physicians and patients, but that this new amendment is restrictive and potentially life-threatening.

“On Valentine’s Day,” said Dr. Laura Andreson, an obstetrician/gynecologist practicing in Franklin, “I was proud to see a bipartisan group of legislators support legislation that would have provided Tennesseans and doctors the minimum clarity they deserve. That language would have allowed me to do my job and would have allowed my patients the confidence that they are receiving quality medical care in the toughest of circumstances.  But now, we’re seeing once again what happens to the law when extremists, not Tennesseans, are leading the way.” 

Andreson said the new amendment would jeopardize the care needed in difficult circumstances.

“This legislation does not provide the freedom a patient like this mother needs to make the decision that is right for her and her family, in consultation with her doctor," Andreson said. "Instead, the current law has created an environment that makes it a felony to treat many of the common complications of pregnancy.  We know that a majority of Tenneseans want abortion access for some cases. We know that women want to have children in an environment that will support them if they have complications. We know that physicians want to provide care in a state that respects their integrity and honesty to uphold their oath and provide care to their patients without fearing becoming a felon.  SB0745/HB0883 provides a step in the right direction toward those bare minimum standards that allow me to practice ethical, patient-centered medicine.”

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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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