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Pro-life bill postponed until April

Pro-life bill postponed until April
NASHVILLE — For the second consecutive meeting, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Republican Caucus Chair Senator Diane Black, R-Gallatin, last week postponed a pro-life bill sponsored by Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden. In a parliamentary maneuver Democrats decried as a trick to kill the bill, SB3512 was delayed over two months until April 16.
The legislation requires that women be provided information about options and resources before abortions and requires a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed. It provides an exception in cases in which an abortion is necessary to protect the health and life of the mother.
“If this committee is so inclined, it can choose life tonight, and I believe the full Senate can choose life by next week,” Herron said. “Some have argued that a constitutional amendment is needed to protect unborn babies, but the earliest its provisions can be enacted is three years. If our goal is to protect unborn babies, we can pass this bill and begin protecting those babies immediately.”
After Black stated it would be “difficult” for her to support SB3512, Sen. Paul Stanley, R-Memphis, moved to delay the bill until April 16. Black seconded the motion.
Citing a Heritage Foundation study by Michael J. New, PhD, Herron argued that the measures enacted by SB3512 could reduce abortions in Tennessee by approximately three a day and that delaying the bill more than two months meant there could be 200 more abortions that could have been avoided.
“Given the available data, it is reasonable to assume that the result of enacting this bill will be fewer abortions,” he said. “Each day that you delay, approximately three abortions will take place. If you delay 70 days, over 200 women will choose to have abortions that might have been avoided if you had acted this evening.”
Democratic Leader Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, objected that the delay was intended to kill the bill because legislative leaders hope to bring the current session of the General Assembly to a close by mid to late April. “The House Committee will be closed by then, meaning there will be no way we can pass this bill,” he said. “If folks want to kill this bill, they ought to just vote against it.”
Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, expressed frustration over delaying the bill because of concerns about SJR127, a constitutional amendment concerning abortion. “I voted for SJR127, and I’d do it again,” he said. “But why should we delay this bill? If SJR 127 passes, we should do this. If SJR127 doesn’t pass, we should do this even more.”
On a 5-4 vote, all committee Republicans voted to delayed and possibly killed the bill. Voting against the bill were Republican Sens. Black, Stanley, Mae Beavers, Mark Norris, and Jamie Woodson.
Supporters of SJR127 argue that the Tennessee Constitution must be amended to allow for informed consent, waiting periods and other requirements due to the action of the Tennessee Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist. However, Herron’s bill has been declared constitutionally defensible by former-Attorney General Paul Summers and current-Attorney General Robert Cooper.

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