Tennessee abortion heartbeat bill backed by Governor Lee and others

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A bill proposed by Representative Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could be as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Van Huss has proposed the legislation in the past.

But now, he appears to have support from new Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who was asked if he was in favor of spending money to go to court in case the issue triggers a lawsuit.

“I am in favor of states moving toward legislation that reduces abortions and I would be in favor of moving in that direction,” Lee said.

The heartbeat bill is at odds with the legal standard set by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling. 
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery  said a similar bill was constitutionally “suspect” in 2017. 

Lt. Governor Randy McNally also indicated he supports the bill and said said he wants to move forward even if the Attorney General sees red flags. 

“I think if the AG says it is constitutionally suspect then we would probably have to go to another source to represent us because he would have a hard time defending it,” McNally said.

Iowa already had a similar heartbeat law.  But, a state judge just declared it unconstitutional after a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood.

Supporters of a Tennessee heartbeat law, say they’re hoping to avoid a similar defeat.

“Look at what the courts are saying and is there ways that we can craft the bill to avoid constitutional issues,” McNally said.

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