Tennessee Gov Bill Haslam Pushes Pro-Life Reforms to Hold Unlawful Abortion Clinics Accountable

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 20, 2015   |   10:23AM   |   Nashville, TN

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is calling for more oversight and regulations of the state’s licensed abortion facilities this week even as the state faces a lawsuit blocking a new pro-life state law.

The pro-life governor recently announced that the state Department of Health will implement new policies including unannounced inspections, stronger record keeping requirements and simpler methods for citizens to report complaints against licensed surgical facilities like abortion centers, according to a press release from Tennessee Right to Life.

“My administration has been working to identify ways to strengthen the regulatory framework surrounding facilities that perform abortions and has implemented a number of administrative changes to help address the issue,” Haslam said.

Haslam also announced plans to introduce legislation in January “to strengthen accountability and transparency for surgery centers performing abortion,” according to the release. Proposals could include enhanced inspection procedures, further improved record-keeping, and a prohibition on reimbursement of any costs associated with the transport of an aborted unborn child, the release states.

The lawsuit against Tennessee specifically involves unlicensed abortion clinics; Haslam’s new policies apply to the four currently licensed abortion clinics. The lawsuit challenges new Tennessee laws requiring facility inspections, hospital admitting privileges for abortion doctors and informed consent provisions for women and girls considering abortions for all abortion clinics, according to the state pro-life group.

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The complaint was filed in federal court by operators of Choices abortion facility in Memphis and owners of unlicensed abortion centers in Bristol and Nashville. New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is representing the abortion facilities and Tennessee’s Attorney General will defend the constitutionality of the protective laws, according to the state pro-life group.

In August, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction barring district attorneys from enforcing the law, LifeNews previously reported

The Tennessee pro-life group commended Haslam’s new actions to protect life, especially after recently undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting and sale of aborted babies’ body parts.

“His administration is strongly defending the constitutionality of both Amendment 1 and the challenged pro-life statutes including requirements that all abortion facilities be licensed and inspected by the Tennessee Department of Health,” the pro-life group said in the release. “Additionally, Governor Haslam is working to ensure the strongest possible medical standards to protect the health and safety of women and girls in our state.”

ACTION: Click here to thank Gov. Haslam.