NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC/WBIR) - A strict abortion bill is set to become law in Tennessee. Some say it will be one of the strictest in the country.
The bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote around midnight Friday morning in Nashville.
The legislation bans any abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. It also criminalizes medical professionals who perform an abortion after those six weeks.
This bill also demands an ultrasound before an abortion. Which makes it illegal for a woman to have an abortion because of the child’s race, sex, or potential for down syndrome.
Although there is an exception for medical emergencies, there are not any exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest.
Democratic lawmakers and reproductive rights activists were shocked at the passage of the bill. They had been assured for weeks that the GOP-dominated Senate would not take up this measure.
Senate leaders promised only to take up budget-related or coronavirus proposals.
Instead, the chamber advanced the abortion bill backed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee just after midnight, as budget negotiations stalled.
The Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee released a statement opposing the legislation.