Tennessee senators face votes on ‘heartbeat’ bill


Tennessee lawmakers could be voting next week on a controversial bill banning abortion that the state Senate sponsor thinks will now withstand potential legal challenges.

“We have got an outside group Liberty Counsel–that has agreed to defend this at no cost to the state of Tennessee,” says Senate sponsor Mark Pody of Wilson County.

The Liberty Counsel is an organization that supports and advocates for Christian religious issues

“They are going to take it and defend it all the way to the (U.S.) Supreme Court if necessary,” Sen. Pody told News2.

Originally the measure would have banned abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, but Senator Pody has an amendment making that secondary confirmation of pregnancy.

His amended bill bans abortion when traditional medical tests say there is a pregnancy, but Pody says his version of the fetal heartbeat bill is more lawsuit-resistant than what passed recently in the Tennessee House.

“The way that we have our amendment we believe that we are going to address those issues as well as be successful in court challenges,” added Sen. Pody. 

Pody’s task now is to convince other Republican senators here who make up the supermajority in the Tennessee Senate.   

If the fetal heartbeat bill were to pass the Senate, its differences would have to be ironed out in what’s called a conference committee.

Then both the House and Senate would have to each approve the conference committee report as the final version of the bill. 

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