TELFORD, TN (WJHL) – A Tri-Cities state lawmaker is defending legislation he sponsored that bans abortions in Tennessee after 20 weeks of pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus is viable.

Republican State Representative Matthew Hill’s bill is called “The Tennessee Infants Protection Act. It was signed into law by Governor Haslam just a few days ago.

The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks if a doctor determines a baby can survive outside of the womb without risking the health of the mother.

With the legislative session now over, Hill is back in his home district. Friday night he hosted a town hall meeting at the Telford Diner to answer questions and recap the legislative session.

Some members of the Washington County Democratic Party came with questions for Hill. Chairperson of the party, Kate Craig, says she believes abortion is a private, personal decision between a woman and her doctor.

She questioned the legislative limit of twenty weeks when the state now considers a fetus to be a viable infant if determined by a doctor.

“There’s not a hard and fast rule of when life begins, no one doctor, no one religious organization agrees when that is that’s a subjective decision or feeling,” Craig said.

The group also brought up other topics like healthcare and same sex marriage.

After speaking with the group, Hill said he welcomed the vigorous conversation, even though not everyone who came agreed on every point.

“Ultimately though I know that our community here in Washington County and Johnson City, I know that we respect life all of us do and life is not a political party issue. It’s not a Republican or Democrat issue, life is life,” Hill said.

Other states have similar laws on their books.  The Attorney General of Tennessee at point said the bill was constitutionally questionable but later said he’d defend it if challenged in court.

Craig tells News Channel 11 this was her first one on one conversation with Hill and she appreciated him listening to what they had to say.

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