Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee praised state lawmakers Tuesday for passing a wide-reaching pro-life bill to protect unborn babies from abortion.
Lee said he wants Tennessee to become “the most pro-family state in the country,” and he “will continue to fight for the unborn.”
“One of the most important things we can do to be pro-family is to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our state, and there is none more vulnerable than the unborn,” Lee said, according to The New American. “We have passed the strongest pro-life law in our state’s history and I am grateful to Lt. Gov. McNally, Speaker Sexton, Leader Johnson, Leader Lamberth and members of our General Assembly for making the heartbeat bill law.”
Though the legislation is being described as a heartbeat bill, it includes many different measures to protect unborn babies. Pro-life lawmakers said they wrote the bill to withstand a legal challenge – and the American Civil Liberties Union already has announced plans to sue.
The heartbeat portion of the bill would prohibit abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. It also includes other levels of restriction going up from eight weeks to 24 weeks of pregnancy, which would go into effect depending on what a court may strike down, the report states.
The bill also would ban discriminatory abortions based on the unborn baby’s sex, race or a Down syndrome diagnosis. It allows exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk.
Abortionists who violate these bans could face felony charges.
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The pro-life legislation includes informed consent measures as well. It would require abortion facilities to inform women of the abortion pill reversal procedure and the size and gestational age of their unborn baby. It also would require abortion facilities to allow the mother to hear her unborn baby’s heartbeat and see the baby on an ultrasound.
However, the success of the heartbeat ban against a legal challenge is uncertain.
Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, 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.