HB883 and the Human Life Protection Act

On February 14, 2023, HB883 passed in the Population Health Subcommittee. In the words of Constitutional expert Paul Linton, this legislation “entirely rewrites state law (Human Life Protection Act "HLPA") and in doing so, creates an abortion law that would be, in practice, if not in principle, unenforceable.”

Referred to as the "Life of the Mother, Post Dobbs Cleanup Act,” the bill is being presented as a clarification that Tennessee law has an exception for the life of the mother, including treatment for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. While well-intentioned, in reality this bill, if enacted, would offer cover for those who abort children in our state and would delete large sections of pro-life measures in Tennessee code.

If HB883 simply clarified the law, Tennessee Right to Life would NOT oppose it.

HB883 takes a 2-page law (HLPA) and turns it into a 9-page exception. It seeks to take Tennessee from a state that no longer allows unborn children to be aborted (with a provision for the life of the mother) to a state where our protections for unborn children are “unenforceable.”

This new legislation that is being billed as a simple “cleanup” would, among other things allow:

  • Large portions of pro-life laws currently on the books to be removed.
  • Physicians to abort unborn children if they believe there is a “lethal fetal anomaly” or if they think a baby has a condition that is “incompatible with life.” The definitions of these circumstances are broad and left up to the discretion of the physician alone.
  • Physicians who are accused of an illegal abortion to go before a state medical board to pre-determine whether or not the law has been violated.
  • Physicians to end the life of a baby if they claim it is to PREVENT or treat a medical emergency. So a baby could be aborted to prevent a condition that may never happen. In Linton’s opinion, “that wording alone would effectively nullify the prohibition of abortion in Tennessee.”

Tragically, some pro-life legislators are currently supporting this bill because they have been told that it will only clarify for those times when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. However, the truth is that if passed, this language would create large loopholes for those who abort children in our state.

Although some claim that this legislation is pro-life, it has the support of long-time Democratic Representative John Ray Clemmons who has never voted for a pro-life bill. Those in the subcommittee hearing in support of this bill held up signs that said, "Abortion is Healthcare" and cheered when the bill passed.

Tennessee Right to Life has worked for nearly 50 years to pass protections for unborn children and their mothers. Despite this strong track record, previously avowed pro-life lawmakers are dismissing TRL's concerns and supporting this bill.

Tennessee’s current law under the Human Life Protection Act is saving an estimated 900 children each month in our state. The law is working as intended. If legislators want to clarify language of the bill, TRL will not oppose that but this legislation goes far beyond clarifications.

Pro-life Representative Bryan Terry was the only member to speak out against the bill and attempt to address the problems. He was the only no vote.

Those recorded as voting in favor of HB883:

Representative Esther Helton-Haynes (R-East Ridge)

Representative Iris Rudder (R-Winchester)

Representative Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville)

Representative Ron Travis (R-Dayton)

Representative Sabi Kumar (R-Springfield)

Representative Michele Carringer (R-Knoxville), Chair of the committee

Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville)

Representative Caleb Hemmer (D-Nashville)

Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville)

The bill moves to the full Health Committee on Wednesday, February 22 at 3:30 p.m. (CST). Please contact the members of the committee and ask that they protect Tennessee's unborn children and pro-life laws and vote NO on HB883.

Pro-abortion activists were in full attendance at the subcommittee meeting. Pro-life advocates are encouraged to attend the full committee meeting on February 22.

Life After Roe

Roe v. Wade is Overturned June 24, 2022!

A great victory for unborn children and those who have been fighting for their lives for nearly 50 years.

What does it mean and what is next?

Is abortion illegal now?  Abortion is not immediately illegal across the United States. The issue has been returned to the states. Now the citizens and their duly elected legislators can decide how best to care for women and their unborn children. In some states, abortion in any form will be outlawed, and sadly in some states, abortion will be even more accessible than before.

What happens in Tennessee?  A “trigger law” takes effect August 25, 2022, making abortion illegal except when a mother’s life is in danger. Twenty other states have similar laws that will soon protect unborn children from abortion.

Does the law make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion in another state?  No, Tennessee law cannot prohibit a woman from obtaining an abortion in another state. However, Tennessee women should be aware that those states will have few safety measures in place to protect them from unregulated abortion facilities and abortion providers.

Will women be arrested for seeking an abortion?  No, Tennessee law specifically states that a woman seeking or obtaining an abortion will not be charged or prosecuted. In this situation, the woman and her child are both considered victims of a predatory abortion industry that has preyed on women for nearly 50 years under Roe and will profit from her abortion. Only the person performing or assisting with the abortion can be prosecuted.

Is the abortion pill also illegal in Tennessee?  Yes, a chemical abortion, RU-486, is included in the methods of abortion that are illegal in Tennessee. 

Can the abortion pill be ordered by mail or through telemedicine? Tennessee law prohibits the dispensation of “the abortion pill” by anyone other than a physician while in the presence of the woman.  Therefore, the dispensation of RU-486 by “telemed” or through the mail is illegal in Tennessee.

What will keep a woman from ordering RU-486 from an out-of-state or out-of-the-country source? Women need to know the truth that if they decide to purchase RU-486 from anyone other than a medical provider, i.e., the internet or a foreign country, she does so at great risk to her own health as these sources could be unregulated and unsafe.

What does the law say about rape and incest?  These horrific situations have been exploited by the abortion industry as a way to justify the destruction of unborn children.  In truth, less than 1.5% of all abortions are for these circumstances. The victim of rape or incest deserves care, compassion and medical attention and also deserves assistance to bring her perpetrator to justice instead of being coerced or pressured into an abortion. Her trauma could be greatly compounded by the trauma of the taking of an innocent child’s life. All life should be protected regardless of how conception occurred.

Will doctors be prosecuted for treating miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies?  No! This is a fear tactic and grossly misrepresents the law. Elective abortions are illegal in the state of Tennessee. A miscarriage or fetal demise is the tragic ending of a life in the womb -- it is not an elective abortion.  How a doctor provides medical treatment for an ectopic pregnancy or the death of the child in the womb is not affected by this law. 

What will happen to girls and women who have an unplanned pregnancy?  Now that Roe has been overturned, Tennesseans will be able to decide how best to assist the women of our state.  The Volunteer State will step up to the challenge.  There are more than 300 pregnancy resource and help centers in our state, and these centers will continue to provide care for pregnant women and their children while Tennessee Right to Life will work to pass legislation to improve care for pregnant women and the accessibility of adoption. Tennessee loves LIFE, and that love is without limit. 

What will Tennessee Right to Life do now? As one of the few states that will no longer allow the destruction of unborn children, the abortion industry will undoubtedly target Tennessee. Tennessee Right to Life will continue to work to elect pro-life legislators that will keep our current laws in place and pass measures to protect women and their children from out-of-state marketing efforts.  We will continue to spread the truth about the humanity of the unborn child and the tragedy of abortion. It is our goal to not only make abortion illegal, but to make abortion unthinkable.

Roe overturned

On June 24, 2022 the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that overturned Roe v Wade. This ruling turns decision-making about abortion regulations back to the states. In Tennessee, the "Heartbeat Bill" almost immediately went in effect, prohibiting abortions once a heartbeat is detected around 6-8 weeks. In 30-60 days, the Human Life Protection Act that Tennessee passed in 2020 will go in effect, which will prohibit abortions in all cases except when the life of the mother is at risk. LIFE IS WINNING!

2021 Hyde Amendment

The Hyde Amendment prohibits tax-payer funded abortion and has been in place four decades with bipartisan support...until now. It has proven to be the greatest domestic abortion-reduction measure ever enacted by Congress and the majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars paying for abortions, yet it along with the Helms Amendment that prohibits US funds for international abortions are on the chopping block. We’re fortunate that our representative in the Chattanooga area, Chuck Fleishman, is fighting to uphold the Hyde Amendment and Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty have introduced legislation to close loopholes that allow Title X family planning funds to go to entities that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood. Every citizen who does not want their money paying for abortions must make sure their legislators know it

Why Chattanooga Does Not Need Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, has hired two staff in Chattanooga: a community organizer and a health educator. They are building support and expanding Planned Parenthood in Chattanooga. They are infiltrating our beloved community and targeting our children!

Chattanooga celebrates 28 years without an abortion clinic this year, and we want to keep it that way! 

Chattanooga does not need anything Planned Parenthood has to offer. There are more than 20 Federally Qualified Health Centers within 30 miles of downtown Chattanooga that provide comprehensive health services with licensed professionals regardless of the person’s ability to pay. We also have several Pregnancy Resource Centers in the Chattanooga area that provide free support and services to families facing unexpected pregnancies.

Planned Parenthood claims they are not trying to get into our schools with their sex education curriculum or open an abortion clinic, but we do not believe them. Planned Parenthood is a business and the product they are selling is abortion. They literally sell death. Their bottom line is making money. When a woman walks in their doors, their goal is not to present choices, it is to sell her an abortion. When they are in the community, their goal is to create business, to create a need for abortion.

According to even a former educator for Planned Parenthood and undercover investigation, Planned Parenthood uses their sex education program as a gateway which leads vulnerable youth to Planned Parenthood’s doors for future abortion services. They try to undermine parents, referring to them as “barriers to service,” and they have opposed every parental consent law across the nation. A few years ago, a series of undercover videos came out showing how Planned Parenthood was illegally selling aborted baby parts.

With this track record, how could the people of Chattanooga trust the largest abortion provider in the world with their deadly agenda to have the best intentions for our children and our community at heart?