‘Fetal heartbeat’ legislation proposed in TN

New bills would limit abortions

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee legislators are proposing a bill which bans all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The only exception would be a medical emergency for the mother.

Planned Parenthood CEO Ashley Coffield says if this legislation is passed, it’s likely heading to the courts.

“The fetal heartbeat bill is unconstitutional and it’s been struck down as unconstitutional in every state that has passed that law,” Coffield said.

She says the bill is an all-out abortion ban.

“The fetal heartbeat bill, also known as the 6 week ban, is really a total abortion ban because 6 weeks is about the time people start to figure out that they’re pregnant. So you’ve taken away a woman’s choice before she even knew she had a decision to make," Coffield said.

Steven Coplon is the CEO of Life Choices, an organization that provides alternatives to abortion for pregnant mothers.

"I'm excited personally," Coplon said. "I'm sure people in the pro-life movement are very happy to see more children, more babies in the womb being protected."

However, the fetal heart bill may be just a precursor of what is to come

A more conservative Supreme court means the potential to strike down the controversial Roe vs. Wade Decision is greater.

Constitutional law professor Steve Mulroy says that would land the abortion debate squarely in the hands of individual states.

The “human life protection act” bill would immediately ban abortion in the state if that happened.

“So rather than waiting for the legislature to react to the Supreme court case and gets into session and pass a bill it would happen automatically, so the minute the decision came down the law would automatically revert back to the strict abortion laws Tennessee had prior to Roe V. Wade,” Mulroy said.

The human life protection act advanced to the public health subcommittee Thursday.

The senate version advanced to the judiciary committee Monday.

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