Memphis Democrat who backed heartbeat bill loses endorsement


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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Officials with Planned Parenthood say they have withdrawn their support of Rep. Joe Towns of Memphis, a Democrat who voted in favor of a bill that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood announced Wednesday it no longer stands by its 2018 endorsement of Towns. The group says it will work to find a 2020 challenger for Towns’ seat.

Rep. Joe Towns

Towns was one of three Democrats to support the bill when it cleared the House earlier this month.

A spokesman for the group says Towns was specifically targeted because the Democrat sought out Planned Parenthood’s endorsement in 2018.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has warned it will sue the state if the bill becomes law.


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