Reproductive Rights Advocates Speak Out at Legislative Hearing

Advocate Andy

Doctors highlight challenges posed by state's abortion ban

A group of Tennessee doctors spoke at a key legislative hearing today on the importance of making changes to the state's abortion ban - one of the strictest in the nation.

The doctors, affiliated with the healthcare advocacy group Protect My Care, noted that the current law presents significant challenges for patients who present with complicated and life-threatening pregnancies.

The group made their remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on possible changes to the current law.

Dr. Laura Andreson, an obstetrician/gynecologist practicing in Franklin, explained that she has spent the last 21 years providing care to women and has welcomed thousands of babies into the world. “I have also given the news of a miscarriage more times than I would have ever imagined,” said Dr. Andreson. I have had to explain the diagnosis of a fatal fetal anomaly, the options for the remainder of the pregnancy and witnessed the heart wrenching grief and sobs that occur as the reality of this news settles in.

“The legislators and public need to fully understand that many desired pregnancies may need to end in an abortion” continued Dr. Andreson. "The current laws have created an environment that makes it a felony to treat many of the common complications of pregnancy.”

Andreson cited data indicating that a significant number of pregnancies proceed with potentially life-threatening anomalies and that women in these conditions would have no choice in Tennessee but to proceed with a pregnancy that may result in the loss of their own life, the loss of the baby's life, or both.

“This is not rhetoric,” concluded Dr. Anderson. “This is happening in real time and women are suffering because of Tennessee having the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. With the passage of HB883 last night, we lost the ability to take care of patients with life threatening medical issues, cancer, premature rupture of membranes, preeclampsia and hemorrhage during a previable pregnancy. Senator Briggs’ bill, which is supported by much of the medical community, has not yet been amended, and provides the minimum standards to better support the women and physicians of TN.”

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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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