Tennessee Governor Signs Bill to Help Stop Forced Abortions, Protect Women

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 20, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Tennessee Governor Signs Bill to Help Stop Forced Abortions, Protect Women

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 20
, 2010

Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen surprised pro-life advocates today and, despite his pro-abortion stance, signed a bill that helps stop forced abortions. The Freedom from Coercion Act will require abortion facilities to prominently post non-coercion policies and impose penalties against facilities which do not comply.

The state House and Senate worked out the differences in two different versions of the bill, which requires the posting of signs.

The signs appearing at abortion centers would read: "It is against the law for anyone, regardless of the person’s relationship to you, to coerce you into having or to force you to have an abortion."

Rep. Susan Lynn and Sen. Jack Johnson sponsored the companion measures which passed overwhelmingly by both the state House (87-8) and state Senate (29-2.)

The Act requires abortion providers throughout the state to post Tennessee’s non-coercion policy and provides for fines against those medical facilities which do not comply. Among those required to post the signs are abortion facilities, hospitals, and offices of private physicians who perform abortions.

Tennessee Right to Life applauded legislators for moving the bill forward and said their work "has resulted in enormous gains for Tennessee’s pro-life movement this legislative session."

"Despite the challenges of Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist, Tennessee’s pro-life leadership is working creatively to represent the state’s pro-life majority and to restore as much protection as the state Supreme Court’s terrible 2000 decision currently allows," Brian Harris, the organization’s president, told LifeNews.com today.

"This session’s victories demonstrate the importance of pro-life leadership and the necessity for pro-life voters to make sacrificial efforts this fall to continue electing candidates with a demonstrated commitment to the protection of human life," Harris said.

With studies showing as many as 60 percent of women who have had abortions saying they felt pressure from a husband or boyfriend, friends or family, or an employer to have an abortion, the signs could reaffirm a woman’s decision to not have one despite the pressure.

Abortion centers that don’t comply with the law would face a $2,500 fine for not posting the required signs.

"Tennessee is making strides toward protecting women and girls who are pressured into abortions they do not want," said Karen Brukardt, legislative lobbyist for Tennessee Right to Life.

She told LifeNews.com, "With this vote Tennessee’s legislators have shown their sensitivity and support for some of our state’s most vulnerable individuals, especially women at risk of abuse and violence if they don’t submit to unwanted abortions."

Linda Norfleet of Hermitage was one of more than 100 pro-life people in the legislature for the vote and she told the Tennessean newspaper this bill is good for women.

"The measure … represents a huge step forward on behalf of the safety of young women and their personal decisions, as well as safety for the life of their unborn child," she said.

Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life – https://www.tnrtl.org

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