Tennessee abortion activists with Planned Parenthood burned an American flag Thursday to protest a new pro-life bill to protect unborn babies and mothers from abortions.
“Gov. Bill Lee has disrespected our constitution and practically lit the flag on fire by banning abortion,” the Planned Parenthood group wrote on Twitter. “But we won’t stop until we live in a new America that respects the rights of pregnant people. Full stop.”
Planned Parenthood organized the protest outside the pro-life Republican governor’s mansion after state lawmakers passed a pro-life bill to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeats are detectable.
During the protest, the abortion activists burned the flag and performed a skit mocking Lee. Right after the flag burning, a woman dressed as Lady Liberty declared to the protesters: “Do not despair. From destruction comes creation. Let us invoke a new world from these ashes.”
In the background, another woman could be heard yelling: “That’s not right! That’s not right! That’s our flag!”
The skit mocked Lee for allegedly violating the Constitution by protecting unborn babies’ right to life. An abortion activist playing Lee said: “This is our constitution. I think it is garbage. This is nothing more than a just piece of paper to me, which is why I introduced the unconstitutional abortion ban in the first place.”
Lee made the pro-life legislation a priority this year and promised to sign it when it reaches his desk. It passed the state legislature last week.
As lawmakers were debating the bill June 18, two Planned Parenthood staffers were arrested for alleged criminal trespass and violations of state coronavirus restrictions, according to a video on the group’s Facebook page. In the video, one of the abortion activists can be heard yelling “Pro-life is a lie!” in the Senate chamber.
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Lizzy Thomas, a community organizer for Planned Parenthood of Tennessee, was one of the two arrested, News 4 Nashville reports.
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.
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.