TENNESSEE (WJHL) — Legislation that would allow narrow exceptions to the Tennessee abortion ban continues to advance in the General Assembly. On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the legislation.
The committee approved SB 0745, which would allow a physician to legally terminate a pregnancy under certain circumstances, including an ectopic pregnancy in which the fetus is outside the uterus, a molar pregnancy in which fertilization is followed by abnormal cell growth and a pregnancy that a doctor determines is endangering the life or well-being of the mother.
The proposed legislation does not permit abortion for a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.
Tennessee’s current abortion ban makes it a felony to provide an abortion and doesn’t contain exceptions for rape, incest, or the mother’s health. It only includes “affirmative defense”, which puts the burden on the doctor to prove in court that an abortion was necessary to prevent serious injury to the mother or her death.
That means, under current law, a physician who performs an abortion to save a mother’s life could still be charged with a felony. Medical professionals have urged lawmakers to change the law so that doctors don’t have to fear criminal prosecution for performing a medically necessary abortion, which could lead to providers deferring proper treatment.
The committee’s Tuesday approval of SB 0745 comes just one day after the Tennessee House passed its companion bill, HB 0883.
The bill will still have to pass the full Senate before it can go to the governor’s desk.