Tennessee abortion bills to be voted on this week

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NASHVILLE — The state Senate and House are expected to vote on two abortion bills this week.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday, with the House following suit possibly on Thursday.

The first measure known as the waiting period measure would require women seeking an abortion to schedule two in-person visits with a physician more than 48 hours apart.

Only after those two visits would she be allowed to get the operation.

According to the Tennessean, supporters of the legislation said it will protect the health and safety of women.

“Women and girls deserve all available facts and information in order to make a careful and fully informed decision,” said Representative Matthew Hill. “We all know what an abortion is. And yet we have had folks say we need to hurry? Are you kidding me? Ladies and gentlemen, the very least we could do for these women and girls is make sure they have all the information available, and give them an opportunity to let that information sink in.”

Senator Sara Kyle from Memphis criticized the waiting period as “dictating” and discriminating.

She pointed out that it could take weeks for women to get one appointment let alone two.

That could force women to wait too long to get a medically induced abortion or past the 16-week limit on abortions that are conducted in clinics.

The second bill would require clinics that perform more than 50 abortions a year to be regulated as an ambulatory surgery center.

This designation means clinics would be under more stringent national and state standards and oversight.

In November, 53% of voters approved Amendment 1, allowing lawmakers to enact more abortion restrictions.

The amendment reads:

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.

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