The Tennessee state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to outlaw nearly all abortions once a heartbeat is detected in an unborn baby.
As the Daily Caller reports, the bill would ban abortions “after an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected and prohibits abortions if the doctors know that the mother is seeking an abortion based on sex, race or a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.”
According to the report, the bill would also outlaw “abortions are also prohibited for juveniles who are in the custody of the Department of Children’s Services. The legislation also removes the state’s option to petition a judge for permission for a juvenile in the Department of Children’s Services’ custody to obtain an abortion.”
The legislation, which cleared the state Senate by a 23 to 5 vote, provides only an exception if the mother’s life is in danger. Unlike previous iterations, the passed-bill does not provide exceptions for rape or incest.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, announced he will sign the bill into law.
“One of the most important things we can do to be pro-family is to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our state, and there is none more vulnerable than the unborn,” Lee tweeted on Friday.
“We have passed the strongest pro-life law in our state’s history and I am grateful to Lt. Gov McNally, Speaker Sexton, Leader Johnson, Leader Lamberth and members of our General Assembly for making the heartbeat bill law,” he added.
We have passed the strongest pro-life law in our state’s history and I am grateful to @ltgovmcnally, @CSexton25, @SenJohnson, @WilliamLamberth and members of our General Assembly for making the heartbeat bill law.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) June 19, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union announced they would be suing the government over the bill.
American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg released a statement saying: “As promised, we will see them in court.”
She added: “The Tennessee General Assembly’s passage of this dangerous, flatly unconstitutional bill is unacceptable. Lawmakers used this measure in a game of political maneuvering to pass the state budget — pushing it through without regard for the actual Tennesseans who will be denied access to the care they need, including abortion.”
Fox News reports Planned Parenthood has also criticized the bill:
Planned Parenthood said the bill includes “anti-science” measures and doesn’t address “actual discrimination against women and girls.”
“In the dead of night, Tenessee politicians hellbent on chipping away at abortion access blocked citizens from entering the state Capitol while they used this draconian abortion ban to pass the state budget,” Ashley Coffield, president & CEO, Planned Parenthood Tennessee and North Mississippi, said in a statement. “While Tennesseans are concerned about their health and safety during a pandemic, politicians used women’s lives as a bargaining chip to push their political agenda.”