Tennessee leaders, lawmakers respond to overturning of Roe v. Wade

Tennessee lawmakers have shared thoughts on the overturn, some for and against the ruling.
If the ruling was overturned, that would give the decision of allowing or outlawing abortions to the state level.
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 11:37 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On Friday, the Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion in a decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, including Tennessee, which passed a trigger ban in 2019.

The ruling came more than a month after the leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.

In the final opinion issued Friday, Alito wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided and must be overturned.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote.

WVLT News spoke to a medical professional about the ruling, getting all the information you need to know about how it will affect reproductive health in Tennessee not just for those seeking abortions for personal reasons, but also for those experiencing abnormal pregnancies.

Tennessee lawmakers have shared thoughts on the overturn, some for and against the ruling. Governor Bill Lee said that Roe v. Wade had caused “pain and loss.” He said the decision marked the beginning of a hopeful chapter for the United States.

Senator Marsha Blackburn applauded the verdict, saying she had worked to protect unborn children for years.

Senator Bill Hagerty released a statement, saying everyone had a moral duty to protect unborn children and that the decision was consequential for American democracy.

Representative Gloria Johnson said that the Supreme Court took away women’s rights with the decision.

Representative Andrew Farmer said, “Hit the road, Roe.”

Representative Jeremy Faison said it was a good day for the unborn.

Representative Tim Burchett said it was a great day in the “fight to protect life,” saying the decision by the court was great.

Representative Chuck Fleishman said Friday was a momentous and historic day for the nation. He also said the ruling was rightful in giving the future abortion decisions back to the states.

Representative Jason Zachary has made several comments online, saying abortion was not covered in the Constitution, applauding the Supreme Court’s decision.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said the decision was a victory that would pave the way for state to pass stronger protections.

Lt. Governor Randy McNally sent a statement to WVLT News, which said the decision was a huge win for life.

The Tennessee Democratic Party said they would continue pushing back, saying the decision was a “direct assault” on the rights of Tennesseans.

Ashley Coffield, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, said the organization would do everything possible to help patients.

As a result of the decision, Tennessee is now set to enact its Human Life Protection Act, which, as it is written, effectively bans abortions beginning in 30 days.

In the Tennessee bill, the only abortion that would be legal in the state would be in the circumstances involving “substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function.” The bill provided no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

The act will make it a Class C felony for a person to perform an abortion; however, the woman seeking the abortion will not face prosecution, according to the bill.

The full ban can be read in full here.

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