Tennessee has become the 13th state to ban abortions following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the state’s six-week ban could go into effect immediately. The heartbeat law protects babies from abortions starting at 6 weeks when the heartbeat can be detected. Meanwhile, a trigger law abortion ban in the state could go into effect next month that will protect babies from abortion starting at conception.
Both measures would make killing a baby in an abortion a felony and subject abortionists to a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Yesterday, state officials told federal courts that a court order blocking a six-week abortion ban in Tennessee “is no longer warranted.” The state attorney general’s office urged the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the six-week ban to go into effect “as soon as possible,” saying any delay “costs the lives of Tennesseans and violates the State’s sovereignty.”
Planned Parenthood’s abortion businesses in Memphis and Nashville were not doing abortions Monday, in anticipation of the six-week ban.
Governor Bill Lee signed the heartbeat abortion ban into law and on Friday celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision.
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“There are a lot of things that I am very passionate about and take very personally in this job that I have, but … this was the most important thing that I could do as governor,” he said.
The law only makes an exception when an abortion is necessary to prevent the woman’s death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” However, it specifies that a woman’s mental health does not qualify for an exemption.
As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.
Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.
Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. Yesterday, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th.
Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.
Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
This is a landmark day for the Pro-Life movement and our entire nation. After staining the moral fabric of our country for nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade is no more.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.
Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion.