Communications Department

Pro-Life State Legislative Victories Continue

Apr 20, 2010 | 2010 Press Releases

Tennessee becomes first in nation to reject federal abortion coverage mandate

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Tennessee state legislature made the state the first in the nation to pass legislation in both houses which bans the inclusion of abortion as a benefit within health exchanges required by the federal health care plan passed by Congress last month.  Governor Phil Bredesen has not yet signed the measure.  Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana are currently considering similar measures to opt out of the abortion coverage mandate.

“Polling continues to show that the public is opposed to the use of public monies – be they in the federal or a state treasury – to pay for or subsidize abortion,” said David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., executive director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).  “This first of its kind bill reflects the will of the vast majority of Americans.”

The legislature also overwhelming passed the Freedom from Coercion Act.  The Act requires abortion providers throughout the state to post Tennessee’s non-coercion policy and provides for fines against those medical facilities which do not comply. Among those required to post the signage are abortion facilities, hospitals, and offices of private physicians who perform abortions.  The governor signed the bill into law yesterday.

“For years, we have heard stories of women being forced to have abortions against their will,” said NRLC Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D.  “This law protects women from being coerced into having abortions and is a victory for mothers and their unborn children in Tennessee.”

“Despite the challenges of Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist, Tennessee’s pro-life leadership is working creatively to represent the state’s pro-life majority and to restore as much protection as the state Supreme Court’s terrible 2000 decision currently allows,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life in a release issued earlier today.

Tennessee Right to Life is the Tennessee state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee.  The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.