Tennessee House Passes Pro-Life Bill Banning Mail-Order Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 14, 2022   |   5:01PM   |   Nashville, Tennessee

The Tennessee House passed a pro-life bill Thursday to protect mothers and unborn babies from dangerous mail-order abortion drugs and telemedicine abortions.

The Tele-Med Abortion Pill Ban (House Bill 2416/Senate Bill 2281) passed by a strong majority in a 68-20 vote and now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

The pro-life legislation aims to crack down on a growing problem across the U.S. Late last year, the Biden administration began allowing abortion drugs to be sold through the mail without the woman ever seeing or speaking to a doctor. And a new report from the Guttmacher Institute estimates more than half of all abortions in the U.S. now are done with the abortion drug mifepristone.

The Tennessee bill requires the abortion drug to be provided to the woman in person by a licensed medical doctor; it also requires the abortion provider to offer a follow-up visit within two weeks of the abortion. Violators would be charged with a felony and face fines of up to $50,000.

State Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington, the lead sponsor of the bill, told the Nashville Tennessean that state law already prohibits mail-order and telemedicine abortions, but her bill adds penalties for abortionists who violate the law. State Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, is the sponsor in the state Senate.

Tennessee Right to Life celebrated the vote Friday, highlighting how the bill requires a doctor to be “in the physical presence of the patient” to provide the abortion drugs.

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The pro-life group also thanked people for contacting their lawmakers about the pro-life legislation, saying: “Your calls and emails have made a difference! Next onto the full Senate Floor.”

The abortion drug mifepristone, or RU-486, has been used to kill millions of unborn babies since it was approved in 2000 under the Clinton administration.

The FDA has linked the abortion drug to at least 26 women’s deaths and 4,000 serious complications. However, under President Barack Obama, the FDA stopped requiring that non-fatal complications from mifepristone be reported. So the numbers almost certainly are much higher.

Late last year, the Biden administration got rid of even more FDA safety regulations and began allowing abortion businesses to sell the drug through the mail – putting even more lives at risk.

Research shows the drug is dangerous for the mother as well as her unborn baby.

A 2021 study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits by women taking the abortion drug increased more than 500 percent between 2002 and 2015. Another study “Immediate Complications After Medical Compared With Surgical Termination of Pregnancy,” in “Obstetrics and Gynecology” found a complication rate of approximately 20 percent for the abortion drugs compared to 5.6 percent for surgical abortions. Hemorrhages and incomplete abortions were among the most common complications.

Pro-life advocates also are concerned that mail-order abortion practices make it easier for abusers and sex traffickers to force abortions on their victims. Studies show a strong link between coercion, abuse and abortion, and without an in-person visit, it is even more difficult for abortionists to screen women for abuse.

ACTION ALERT: To support this pro-life bill, Contact Tennessee state lawmakers.