MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A trigger law banning abortion took effect in Tennessee Thursday.
The state’s human protection act prohibits abortions except to save the life of the mother.
The change comes more than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
While visiting Memphis Tuesday, Governor Bill Lee said he expects the law to be followed, adding that ‘the most important thing is to protect lives.’
Tennessee joins several other states across the U.S. in putting a ban on abortions. Trigger laws banning most abortion procedures have already happened in Arkansas and Mississippi.
The law does not target women who get an abortion but does make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion.
Governor Lee said that he expects prosecutors to hold medical professionals responsible if they break the law.
The only exception to the new abortion ban is protecting the life of the mother.
“Our law is designed to allow for doctors to perform procedures in dangerous maternal health situations,” Governor Lee said. “It will protect the life of the unborn, which is incredibly important. It’s also incredibly important we protect the lives of mothers”
On the other side of the equation, some fear the strict abortion ban, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, could result in victims being victimized for a second time.
Another fear is coming from health professionals, who fear they could face felony charges.
The newest restriction going into effect means doctors who carry out the procedure in Tennessee could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of violating the ban.