Tenn. Senate passes 20 week abortion restrictions

May 2, 2017

Sen. Joey Hensley (R) Hohenwald and Sen. Lee Harris (D) Memphis
Credit capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  The Tennessee Senate on Monday voted to pass a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks if doctors determine the fetus is viable.

Republican Senator Joey Hensley, a Hohenwald physician, is the bill’s sponsor.

“If the doctor does determine that the infant is viable, then the abortion cannot be performed, except to protect the life of the mother or to prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Memphis Democrat Sen. Lee Harris said during floor debate that he was concerned the bill did not address cases where there were fetal abnormalities.

“I don’t believe government should be involved in a decision that is private and intimate and I believe this to be one of the most private decisions a family can make.”

The Tennessee attorney general's office has said that it would defend the measure if it becomes law, despite previously calling the legislation "constitutionally suspect."