Two Tennessee Republicans joined Democrats Wednesday to defeat a bill that would have banned all abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned.
WREG News 3 reports a state House subcommittee rejected the bill in a 4-3 vote. State Reps. Micah Van Huss and Matthew Hill, both pro-life Republicans, voted no without explanation, according to the report. Both support another bill moving through the state legislature to ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable.
The Human Life Protection Act (SB 1257 / HB 1029), supported by Tennessee Right to Life, would have restored full legal protections for unborn babies in Tennessee once the high court either fully or partially overturns Roe v. Wade.
When state Rep. Susan Lynn introduced the bill in February, she said she wants Tennessee to be known for protecting its children.
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“It has always been the priority of Tennessee’s pro-life movement to restore protection to the largest number of unborn children and women in our state,” Lynn said. “While states like New York are moving to strip any limits to abortion–even at the moments just before birth—Tennessee wants to be known for protecting our children.”
A number of states are considering similar legislation this spring. In February, Arkansas became the fifth state to pass a law to immediately ban abortions if Roe is overturned. The others are Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota. Kentucky and Missouri also are considering bills to do the same thing.
The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. The ruling continues to prevent states from enforcing protections for the unborn, such as laws that ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable.
There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider laws that ban abortions, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.