June 19, 2020

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Tonight the Tennessee General Assembly passed SB 2196/HB 2263, one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country. 

As amended, this legislation criminalizes medical professionals who perform an abortion after six weeks and restricts the reasons a woman can have an abortion. The bill also includes language prohibiting abortion at multiple points in a woman’s pregnancy, an attempt to ensure that abortion access is taken away even if the courts strike down the 6-week ban portion of the bill. In addition, the bill requires a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and the doctor to describe it to her and display the images so that she can view them if she chooses. This bill effectively outlaws abortion in the state of Tennessee.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director:

“The Tennessee General Assembly’s passage of this dangerous, flatly unconstitutional bill is unacceptable. Lawmakers used this measure in a game of political maneuvering to pass the state budget – pushing it through without regard for the actual Tennesseans who will be denied access to the care they need, including abortion. Lack of access to abortion care particularly harms those struggling financially and those who already face significant barriers to health care, including people of color, people with limited incomes, rural people, and young people. Politicians should not be deciding what is best for women and certainly not making reproductive health care decisions for them. As promised, we will see them in court.”

This statement is available online here.

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