May 4, 2022 - News

What's next in abortion law in Tennessee

Data: Axios Research; Cartogram: Sara Wise and Oriana Gonzalez/Axios

Most abortions would be banned in Tennessee if Roe v. Wade is overturned, as a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court suggests.

  • But it wouldn't happen right away.

Why it matters: The draft opinion, reported by Politico, shows a majority of the high court backing a broad rejection of Roe v. Wade. If the final ruling maintains that position, the issue would return to the states.

  • Tennessee is one of 13 states that previously passed a so-called "trigger law" describing how abortions would end if Roe fell.

How it works: Under the terms of Tennessee's law, the state attorney general must notify state officials of the ruling.

  • The law would take effect 30 days later. WPLN reports that window was included to allow for anticipated legal challenges.
  • After the waiting period, state law would make performing or attempting to perform abortions a class C felony.

State of play: Tennessee's abortion ban would include limited exceptions, including if a doctor determines a pregnancy puts the mother's life at risk.

Yes, but: Funk said he wouldn't prosecute a doctor for providing an abortion in Nashville, although the Republican-dominated General Assembly passed a law last year allowing a special prosecutor for specific offenses local DAs decline to pursue.


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