NRL News

Tennessee Gov. signs 48-hour waiting period into law

by | May 18, 2015


By Dave Andrusko

Gov. Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam

Ten days ago Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law requiring that all clinics performing more than 50 surgical abortions each year be regulated as outpatient surgery centers and inspected annually.

Today Gov. Haslam signed another pro-life bill, an informed consent measure that provides for a 48-hour waiting period for women and girls seeking an abortion after meeting with the abortionist. Twenty-eight states require a reflection period of at least 24 hours.

The waiting period is strongly supported by Tennesseans. “[A] recent poll by Vanderbilt University showed Tennessee voters largely support the two-day waiting period, with 60 percent in favor of the measure, while 28 percent oppose it,” Anita Wadhwani reported for the Tennessean.

In addition, she wrote, abortionists must tell women the baby’s age; that “numerous public and private agencies and services are available to assist her during her pregnancy and after the birth of her child, if she chooses not to have the abortion”; an explanation of how the abortion will be performed; “The medical benefits, risks or both of undergoing an abortion or continuing pregnancy to term”; and if the baby has reached 24 weeks “and a viable child is born during the course of an abortion, the physician has a legal obligation to take steps to preserve the health and life of a child.”

All of these pro-life measures were made possible by passage of “Amendment 1.” This amendment to the state Constitution’s key wording is in the beginning: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

It was needed because in 2000 the Tennessee Supreme Court found, “A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.”

Not only were a slew of commonsense pro-life laws tossed out because of the Court’s decision, the Volunteer State became an abortion haven. One in four abortions is performed on women who live outside of Tennessee.

Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, told NRL News Today that too many women and families regret that they had not taken more time or received fuller information before deciding on their abortions. For some, time and information could have changed both their decision and their lives.

“Now women and girls will be assured of additional information and adequate time to ensure that their decision is fully informed,” said Harris. “Women will be empowered and lives will be saved as a result of these common-sense safeguards.”