Tennessee Abortion Ban Goes Into Effect: What Exactly Does It Say?


Portico, located at 726 S. Church St, is Murfreesboro's sole crisis pregnancy center. (Photo by Kailee Shores)

Story by News Editor Matthew Giffin and Assistant News Editor Kailee Shores

Tennessee’s abortion trigger law went into effect on Thursday, 30 days after the landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In the wake of the legal upheavals, abortion access for Tennesseeans has changed drastically.

Under the Human Life Protection Act, signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee in 2019, performing or attempting to perform abortions that are not medically necessary to prevent death or serious injury to the mother is prosecutable as a Class C Felony.

“The end of abortion-on-demand in our state is a badge of honor for Tennessee. We are proud of the fact that we will no longer tolerate those who profit from the destruction of children and the exploitation of their mothers,” said State Rep. Susan Lynn, bill sponsor of the Human Life Protection Act.

The law clearly states that women who seek or receive abortions are not subject to prosecution, only physicians who continue to provide them. Ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages are still legally treatable under the law.

Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi will no longer be providing abortion services at any of its four locations in compliance with the law, according to a statement on their website. Instead, the 75-year-old nonprofit has linked a form that people can use to find out-of-state abortion providers and secure financial assistance.

Tennessee currently has four Planned Parenthood locations, including one in Nashville, one in Knoxville and two in Memphis. By comparison, the state has 60 crisis pregnancy centers according to Crisis Pregnancy Center Map, a website dedicated to mapping crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. Crisis pregnancy centers are pro-life organizations, usually faith-based, that are focused on counseling pregnant women against having abortions and sometimes offering medical services and parental counseling, according to the website.

Crisis Pregnancy Center Map lists Portico, a crisis pregnancy center on South Church Street, as a resource for people in Murfreesboro.

“The intentional killing of unborn children is not a Constitutional right,” said Tennessee Right to Life president Stacy Dunn in a statement the day before the trigger law went into effect. “August 25 is a historic day for Tennessee. It is a day innocent lives will be protected.”

MTSU film student Audrey Dick said, “I think it is a despicable thing to try and prosecute a doctor who would try and assist a possibly underage child so that they don’t have to give birth to the child of their rapist.”

To contact News Editor Matthew Giffin, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

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