Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Signs Pro-Life Bill Banning Mail-Order Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 6, 2022   |   2:05PM   |   Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed a pro-life bill into law that will protect mothers and unborn babies from dangerous mail-order abortion drugs and telemedicine abortions.

The pro-life legislation passed by an overwhelming majority last month in the state Senate after the state House approved it earlier. The vote was 26-4. Now the bill becomes law with lee’s signature.

The Tele-Med Abortion Pill Ban (House Bill 2416/Senate Bill 2281) 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.

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.

“An individual who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly violates this bill commits a Class E felony and, upon conviction, will be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, be imprisoned for a term not to exceed 20 years, or both,” the bill sets forth, noting a criminal penalty will not be leveled against women.

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.

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Lee, a pro-life Republican, signed the bill late Thursday.

Tennessee Right to Life supports the bill, highlighting how it requires a doctor to be “in the physical presence of the patient” to sell the abortion drugs.

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. 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.

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 businesses 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.