Pro-choice advocates concerned after heartbeat bill passes in TN House
A bill that would make abortions illegal after a heartbeat is detected is making its way through the state legislature.
House Bill 0077 was introduced in the state House in early January and since then has since passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Of course, supporters and critics are both reacting to the news.
One state representative says it's time to make a stand, but some pro-choice advocates are wondering how passing the bill will impact thousands of women in the state.
"It's a little bit scary to think that someone can tell me what I can and can't do with my own body," Amanda Strickland said.
It's a bill that would drastically change women's reproductive rights in the state of Tennessee.
"This bill, House Bill 0077, would basically make it so that once a heartbeat is detected you no longer can perform an abortion of that child. Normally, the heartbeat is detected somewhere around the six week range, " State Representative Mark Hall said.
The bill nicknamed the "heartbeat bill" would bring the current cut off for abortions in Tennessee from 20 weeks to as early as 4 weeks.
"Most women don't know they're pregnant until they're 4-6 weeks along which, of course, at that point, most heartbeats are detected at that point, so really it's just a way to ban abortion in Tennessee," Strickland added.
District 24 State Representative Mark Hall is one of the sponsors.
"I'm 100 percent pro-life, and I feel that every life is precious, and I think now is the time in Tennessee history that it's time to stand up and make a statement that we value life in Tennesee," Hall told Channel 3
He says as of now, he doesn't anticipate any changes to the bill that would include exceptions for cases of rape or other traumatic incidents.
"I think that if for some reason a mother doesn't want the child, I think you have plenty of couples who would provide a child a loving home and a beautiful life," Hall continued.
Leaving some pro-choice advocates like Amanda Strickland concerned.
"It would result in suicides. It would result in women's health being put at risk with illegal abortions," Strickland said.
While Hall says he and others believe the bill would stand up in court against the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling on abortion, "that was upheld by the circuit court of appeals," Hall said. Strickland says she does not.
"Roe v Wade has been challenged many times since then, so if they had the science to back it up then, why has it not been overturned?" Strickland questioned.
This bill did pass with one amendment which makes an exception in the case of a medical emergency. While some Republicans are ready to move forward with the bill, others believe it may cause the state more problems and cost more money.
District 27 Republican State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood is one of them. She provided Channel 3 with the following statement:
"I am opposed to abortion. However, this bill will draw legal challenges and could very well end up putting taxpayer dollars into the pockets of abortion providers. Therefore, I cannot support it in its current form."