Tennessee Legislature Passes Pro-Life Bill to Protect Women and Unborn Children

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2021   |   6:05PM   |   Nashville, Tennessee

A Tennessee pro-life bill that provides protection and justice for pregnant women and their babies who are killed in violent crimes is on its way to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk. The measure is important because it helps recognize the humanity of babies killed in abortions.

Today, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Prenatal Life and Liberty Act in both the House and Senate. This bill, which is now headed to Governor Bill Lee to sign has a two-part purpose.

In short, the first part of this bill levels the criminal and civil elements for fetal homicide across the state law. The second part of this legislation would prohibit “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” lawsuits.

“This has been a tremendous year for further defining the humanity of unborn children,” said Will Brewer, lobbyist for Tennessee Right to Life, in comments to LifeNews.com.

“Pro-Life legislators voted to require the burial or cremation of unborn children, expand the definition of wrongful death victim to include all unborn children and prohibit lawsuits against doctors when parents claim they would have rather aborted their child than give birth,” said Brewer.

“We continue to move the needle forward on recognizing unborn children as human beings with these types of bills,” said Stacy Dunn, President of Tennessee Right to Life. “Furthermore, discussion of these bills allowed for educational debate and powerful testimony on the dignity and humanity of unborn children,” said Dunn.

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“We are grateful to the elected representatives of this state who once again made strong pro-life stands with common sense, effective and constitutional legislation,” said Brewer. “We are especially grateful to the bills’ sponsors: Senator Mike BellSenator Janice BowlingRepresentative Tim Rudd and Representative Jeremy Faison as well as all the co-sponsors and supporters of these bills,” said Brewer.

“These unborn children, many of them up to almost full term, deserve the same dignity as any other human being,” said state Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, the lead sponsor of the bill.

State House Bill 1181 requires abortion facilities to bury or cremate the remains of aborted babies from surgical abortions and pay the costs. Mothers would be allowed to decide the location for final disposition and choose between burial and cremation. Exceptions would be allowed for criminal investigations and miscarriages.

The pro-life bill is one of the ways lawmakers hope to provide at least some dignity to unborn babies while Roe v. Wade remains. Last year, state lawmakers passed a heartbeat law to protect unborn babies by banning almost all abortions in Tennessee. However, a federal court blocked the law.

Legislation requiring the burial or cremation of aborted babies ensures that abortion facilities are appropriately disposing of their bodies. It also helps to prevent abortion facilities from selling aborted babies’ body parts.

Tennessee is the 12th state to enact such requirements.

A few abortion activists and Democrat lawmakers criticized the bill prior to the vote. According to the local news, state Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, argued that the government should not legislate “women’s reproductive choices.” A small group of abortion activists also held a protest Wednesday in the state Capitol.

Growing evidence indicates that these laws are needed.

A number of states took action in the wake of viral undercover videos that exposed top officials at Planned Parenthood negotiating the prices of aborted babies’ body parts. The Center for Medical Progress investigation resulted in two California companies being shut down for selling aborted baby body parts.

Indiana was one of the first to pass a law requiring the dignified disposition of aborted babies’ bodies. The abortion industry challenged the law, but Indiana won a victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019.

A gruesome discovery inside a late Indiana abortionist’s garage further demonstrated the need for such laws. In the fall of 2019, authorities found 2,246 preserved remains of aborted babies stored in boxes in late Indiana abortionist Ulrich Klopfer’s garage in Illinois. A few weeks later, they found 165 more babies’ remains in a vehicle stored on one of his properties. Klopfer’s family reported finding the remains shortly after he died.