NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Some Tennessee Democratic lawmakers gathered Tuesday to announce legislative action they plan to take during the next legislative session in January following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Sen. Heidi Campbell, Sen. London Lamar, Sen. Jeff Yarbro, Rep. Gloria Johnson, and Rep. John Ray Clemmons told reporters Tuesday there would be several negative consequences once Tennessee’s trigger law, which bans virtually all abortions, goes into effect in mid-August, including pushing businesses out of the city and state, placing children in an already overcrowded foster care system, and putting women and girls’ lives in danger.
Once the legislative session begins in January, Democrats said their ultimate goal is to codify or reinstate abortion rights into Tennessee law. If unsuccessful, they will introduce legislation that would expand healthcare for women and girls and create protections for doctors and mothers who perform or are seeking abortions.
The Democratic lawmakers plan to draft a bill that would create a clear, legal abortion exemption for rape, incest, and human trafficking victims, and if the pregnancy puts the health and safety of the mother at risk.
In addition, they will present a bill that would repeal criminal statutes which state doctors who perform abortions could face up to 15 years in prison.
“We will be fighting this fight all the way, we are not backing down, and we are not going away,” Sen. Campbell (D-Nashville) said. “Our Tennessee daughters deserve to grow up with the same rights as our Tennessee sons.”
Democrats have already begun taking action outside of the Capitol, including working with out-of-state groups and organizations who will assist Tennessee women seeking abortions.