A Tennessee bill to protect unborn babies by banning almost all abortions passed the state House on Thursday by an overwhelming majority.
The Times Free Press reports the legislation, which Gov. Bill Lee introduced in January, passed 68-17 and now heads to the state Senate, where its fate is less certain.
The pro-life bill is designed to withstand a legal challenge by including multiple levels of abortion bans, which would go into effect depending on what the court rules.
The strictest ban prohibits abortions as soon as the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin can be detected (about 11 days of pregnancy), according to the report. It allows exceptions if there is a serious risk to the mother’s life or health.
If a court strikes down that ban, the bill includes other levels of restriction, including a heartbeat ban that prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy, the report states.
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“Hopefully we can protect more babies and more life,” said state Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Old Hickory, the lead sponsor of the bill. She said the pro-life legislation would be “a very just and a very fair law.”
It is one of several pieces of pro-life legislation in Tennessee this spring. Earlier this month, the Tennessee House also passed a life-saving bill to inform women that a drug-induced abortion may be reversed to save their baby’s life. The procedure has saved hundreds of babies’ lives.