As Tennessee abortion activists protested Thursday in Nashville, one participant claimed children will be “worse off” if the state bans abortions.
Planned Parenthood helped organize the protest outside Gov. Bill Lee’s mansion after state lawmakers passed a sweeping pro-life bill to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeats are detectable.
News 4 Nashville reports the abortion activists burned a flag, honked and chanted “Our bodies, our lives, our right to decide” outside the Republican governor’s residence.
One protester, Rachel Welty, told the station that she is pro-child and pro-choice.
“We are putting children in circumstances that are worse off,” Welty said. “If you’re pro-life, great. I get it. I’m not pro-abortion. I always say I’m pro-child, pro-choice, but my hope for you is that you help us decrease abortions and put funding into contraception and appropriate sex education for children.”
But the legislation would protect children, not harm them. And despite what Welty claimed, many top abortion advocacy groups want to expand abortions, not decrease them.
Though the Tennessee 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.
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.
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Lee said he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
“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.
But Lizzy Thomas, a community organizer for Planned Parenthood of Tennessee, slammed the bill as dangerous and unconstitutional. According to the report, she was arrested at the state Capitol when the legislature passed the bill late last week. It did not say why.
“We want to use the governor’s mansion as a symbol of reclaiming power and showing that we are awake, we are watching and we are holding him accountable,” Thomas told the local news. “The idea that it protects families and the most vulnerable is simply not true. This bill is dangerous, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s fiscally irresponsible.”
Other abortion activists burned an American flag Thursday while criticizing the pro-life governor and calling Americans “sheep.” The local news caught the moment on camera.
The pro-life legislation potentially could save tens of thousands of unborn babies’ lives and protect their mothers, but 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.