After Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Tennessee trigger law goes into effect in 30 days

Published 5:08 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

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The Center Square

With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its Roe v. Wade decision on Friday, Tennessee’s trigger law will now go into effect in 30 days.

Tennessee state Capitol in Nashville. Photo by Vivian Jones / The Center Square

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Later Friday, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed an emergency motion in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce the law immediately, according to The Tennessean.

The Human Life Protection Act, which passed the Legislature in 2019, would “criminalize performing or attempting to perform an abortion, except in extreme cases where it is necessary to prevent death or serious and permanent bodily injury to the mother.”

“After years of heartfelt prayer & thoughtful policy, America has a historic opportunity to support women, children & strong families while reconciling the pain & loss caused by Roe,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said. “We have spent years preparing for the possibility that authority would return to the states, and Tennessee’s laws will provide the maximum possible protection for both mother and child. In the coming days we will address the full impacts of this decision for Tennessee.”

The federal court overturned the 1973 landmark decision related to abortion and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, another abortion-related decision from 1992.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question,” the court opinion stated. “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives. The judgment of the Fifth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

Now it will be a Class C felony to perform or attempt to perform an abortion.

“This is personal. The Supreme Court has stopped recognizing the constitutional  right to abortion which has been in place for nearly five decades,” said the Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. “This decision takes away the right to control our bodies and personal health care decisions, giving power to politicians in Tennessee and leaving us without access to safe, legal abortion. Because of the abortion laws already in place in Tennessee, PPTNM soon — in a number of days — will not be able to provide abortion services. This is devastating and a scary and confusing time, but we’re here to provide you with information about where to get an abortion and we will help you with financial and logistical barriers you’re facing to get to a state.”

Tennessee has passed several abortion-related laws since 2019, including a heartbeat law that would prevent an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy that is currently the subject of litigation.

The state also has an ultrasound law, which requires any physician conducting an abortion to perform an sonogram and make the images and heartbeat sound available for the mother.

Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk has said that he will refuse to prosecute abortion cases.

“The Supreme Court just reset the clock on women’s constitutional rights to 1972,” said Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis. “This decision puts the lives of women in imminent danger by handing politicians control over our most personal healthcare decisions. This is a stunning reversal of a decades-long expansion of our personal privacy rights, and, it’s disgraceful because it will not affect every American equally. Men’s reproductive liberties are completely untouched and protected.

“In Tennessee, abortion is already a right in name only for many people, but, even here, the consequences for women will be swift and severe.”