“Heartbeat” abortion bill at center of two-day Tennessee Capitol Hill hearing

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – One of the nation’s most divisive issues brought hundreds to Tennessee’s Capitol Hill today.

State lawmakers heard testimony in a summer hearing about the abortion measure called the “heartbeat” bill. There were no motions, no votes, but plenty of people and passion here on this abortion bill. Before two Tennessee Capitol Hill committee rooms completely filled, and people watched from hallways, heartbeat bill sponsor Senator Mark Pody rallied red clad supporters an hour before the hearing.

“We have no protection for our back, if God is with us,” said Sen. Pody in front of the supporters as they packed an 8th floor room at the legislature’s Cordell Hull building.

Opponents clad in black t-shirts say the Tennessee heartbeat bill as currently written would amount to a ban on abortion at conception. Sponsor Pody hopes to show the unborn have rights.

“What’s it’s going to say is there is life in the womb the very moment of conception and that baby, that human being, should have the same constitutional rights as anyone else, “ Sen. Pody said.

The CEO of Planned Parenthood for Tennessee and Northern Mississippi outlined the opposition to the heartbeat bill which stalled earlier this year in the state senate. 

“Absolutely a total ban and everyone in Tennessee should be concerned about it,” said Ashley Coffield who is Planned Parenthood CEO for Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. “They are trying to pass a bill that is blatantly unconstitutional that is going to cost Tennessee taxpayers a lot of money to defend it in court.

While supporters of the measure dominated testimony Monday, several members of Planned Parenthood are scheduled to testify Tuesday.

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