State Watch

Tennessee GOP governor: No ‘current plans’ to introduce abortion law similar to Texas

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) says there are no “current” plans to introduce an abortion law similar to the one recently enacted in Texas.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Lee said his priority is to wait for a court ruling on the abortion ban that his state has already passed.

“I haven’t read the Texas law. So I can’t really speak to the particular nuances of that piece of legislation. I can only speak to what we’re doing here,” Lee said.

“We do not have any current plans to move forward beyond what we are currently awaiting, which is a ruling from the court on the existing piece of legislation that we have,” he continued.

The Supreme Court denied an emergency request from abortion providers to block Texas’s bill in a 5-4 ruling Wednesday, with the majority coming from the court’s conservative justices.

The measure effectively bans almost all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which often occurs at six weeks in pregnancy. There is no exception for women who become pregnant due to rape or incest, but there is an exception if the mother’s life is at risk.

Texas’s bill does this by making it legal for private citizens to sue individuals who perform or aid in abortions.  

But Tennessee is currently awaiting a ruling on similar legislation it passed last year. The bill also bans abortions  after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as well as abortions based on the fetus’s race and sex, or a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.

In late February, Tennessee federal judge William Campbell issued a preliminary injunction on the measure. He wrote at the time “the public interest will not be harmed by preserving the status quo.”

Lee said that he hopes that the “unborn are protected in any way that we can see that protection for them” in the state.

Tags Abortion Supreme Court Tennessee Texas Texas abortion law

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