Tenn. Senate is 'slow walking' abortion bill passed by the House

Mar 18, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  An abortion bill that sailed through the Tennessee House in less than three weeks appears stalled in the State Senate.

Credit capitol.tn.gov

House bill 77 would outlaw all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That’s typically at about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many woman even know they're expecting.

During House committee debate Memphis Democrat Barbara Cooper questioned Republican bill sponsor Micah Van Huss about the measure.

COOPER: “Are you stating that even in the case of rape, (or) incest, that you are banning or prohibiting an abortion?” VAN HUSS: “I am. I do not think Mrs. Cooper that you would think that killing babies is the right thing to do.”

The measure easily passed the House Mar. 7, but so far hasn’t been placed on the Senate calendar.

Reporter Sam Stockard covers the State Assembly for the Daily Memphian. He says Republican Senate Speaker Randy McNally admits there’s little appetite for debating the bill in the upper chamber.

Similar laws passed recently by other state legislatures have seen their so-called “fetal heartbeat” abortion bans struck down in court. Stockard says McNally is happy to let other states lead on this issue.

“They don’t want to spend the money and get beat in court and wind up having to pay legal fees for Planned Parenthood or the ACLU.”

The Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has vowed to file suit against the measure if passed.

Pro-Life activists are pressing the bills in Tennessee and other states in the hope that a more conservative U.S. Supreme Court will soon overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing the procedure.

Would you like to review reporter Sam Stockard's article on House Bill 77?  Use the link below to listen to the complete WMOT interview with Mr. Stockard.