UPDATED: Lawmaker Wants Tenn. To Issue Death Certificates For Abortions

Knoxville (WVLT) - A state lawmaker representing Knoxville says Tennessee needs to know more about how many women are receiving abortions, and who's performing them.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd investigates the latest push in Nashville that has abortion rights supporters claiming it attacks a woman's right to privacy.

State Representative Stacey Campfield admits his bill won't even make it out of the House, but he says he's sponsoring it to make a point about safety.

Opponents claim it opens the door to changing the abortion debate.

Even before the Supreme Court made abortions legal, the underlying issue bringing folks to the street has been when does life begin?

"I think life begins much sooner than when the state believes," says Rep. Campfield. "Obviously, the state believes you can have an abortion right up until the baby is half out of the body."

"You first need to have a birth certificate before you have a death certificate," argues Corinne Rovetti, from the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health.

Representative Stacy Campfield's House Bill would require a death certificate for every abortion performed in Tennessee, stating that the fetus's cause of death was an medical procedure to end the pregnancy.

"My understanding is that the bill would ask the names of the women having abortions," says Rovetti.

"It's not a pro-life bill, it's an anti-privacy bill," Family attorney Jennifer McKinnish says the bill likely wouldn't hold up in court, because it violates a woman's federal privacy rights. "It specifically discloses a mother's medical records, which, at this point, you can't release someone's medical records."

Campfield insists his bill wouldn't force mothers to reveal their names. Rather, "It might open up people's lives that this is a life. It'll also give a lot more information as to where these things are happening, how many of these are happening."

"Accurate statistics are kept in the state for the number of abortions that are done," Corinne Rovetti says Tennessee law requires the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health to report how far along each pregnancy was, the age of the mother and where she's from and who performed the abortion and where.

Representative Campfield says his bill probably wouldn't stop many women from having abortions, but it would put lawmakers on the record about where they stand.

He says he's never met a candidate who hasn't claimed to be against abortion before election time, but that, he claims, changes, when they get to Nashville.

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