Tri-Cities congressman weighs in on controversial heartbeat bill


KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Congressman Phil Roe is back home in the district voicing support for the so-called “heartbeat bill” after a round table discussion at his tri-cities office on Tuesday.

“Tennesseans know what’s best for Tennesseans. What may work for Tennessee may not work for California or some other state” said Roe.

This comes as state lawmakers complete the second day of hearings on the issue in Nashville.


Congressman Roe says “This is a state issue, but we worked on the same thing in Washington, D.C., which I’m a co-sponsor of the heartbeat bill.”

If passed, the bill would ban abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks.

Ashley Coffield, the Tennessee Planned Parenthood CEO says this is “…absolutely a total ban and everyone in Tennessee should be concerned about it.

She went on to say “they are trying to pass a bill that is blatantly unconstitutional that is going to cost Tennessee taxpayers a lot of money to defend it in court.”

Neighboring states like Georgia and Alabama passed similar heartbeat bills, despite threats of boycotts from companies. 

But Roe says he doesn’t think companies will make threats in Tennessee.

“I think its a false flag [and]…it will be insignificant if they do,” said Roe.

Roe, a retired OB-GYN, finds himself opposing some who worry the heartbeat bill will harm women’s health.

“We don’t want to impede on the rights of women to make their own independent decisions about their body of course and we want to make sure that we protect healthcare that’s available to women and this bill would ultimately limit that in its entirety,” says Katrina Robinson, a Memphis Senator.

But Roe also says unintended pregnancies are on the decline.   And he says technology now gives women the ability to see life – even in the earlier weeks of a pregnancy.

“When the discussion took place in 1973, there was this obscure discussion, there was this tissue, whatever. It is amazing what you can see with 3 and 4-D ultrasound,” said Roe.

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