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Legal Decision Favors Unborn

2021 Legislative Session This information is provided by 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles and five other counties.

Decision by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is very important for unborn children in Tennessee

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the constitutionality of a 2015 law passed by our General Assembly requiring a 48-hour waiting period for abortions.

This decision was very important for unborn children in Tennessee.

The Sixth Circuit Appeals Court reversed a lower court decision that the law imposed too many burdens on women seeking abortions.

The Appeals Court concluded that since passage of the law, the 48-hour waiting period has not been a substantial obstacle to getting an abortion.

The opinion, authored by Judge Amul Thapar, said “before making life’s big decisions, it is often wise to take time to reflect. The people of Tennessee believed that having an abortion was one of those decisions. So they passed a law requiring a waiting period of 48 hours.”

Passage of the 48-hour waiting period law was not easy. It resulted from many years of hard work, including adoption of a constitutional amendment by the people of Tennessee.

Here is a brief history.

In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court handed down a ruling that went a step beyond the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision regarding abortion.

The ruling struck down legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, which called for women to receive “informed consent” information about the surgery and to wait 48 hours before they receive an abortion.

That prompted a movement to adopt wording in Tennessee’s constitution to allow the state to enact abortion policy.

In 2014, the people of Tennessee voted to approve the constitutional amendment and restore their voice in determining what state law should be regarding abortions, particularly as it concerns court decisions that are more liberal than required by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.

The 48-hour law was adopted in 2015 in accordance with the newly adopted amendment.

The Sixth Circuit Court’s decision upheld the vote of the people and their elected representatives in the General Assembly to enact reasonable policies on abortion.

Over the last decade plus, the General Assembly has passed pro-life legislation including:

  • A measure prohibiting health care providers from performing a medically induced abortion via telemedicine conferencing, clarifying that no drug or device intended to cause a medical abortion may be administered or dispensed to a pregnant woman except in the physical presence of her physician;

  • Legislation creating a safer climate for abortion-vulnerable women by requiring that physicians performing abortions have hospital admitting privileges in the same community so that women with complications receive better care if they need to be hospitalized;

  • A measure I sponsored requiring abortion facilities performing more than 50 abortions a year be held to the same health and safety standards as other out-patient surgical facilities;

  • The Fetal Remains Act which prevents the possibility of abortion clinics selling fetal remains by properly equipping the Tennessee Department of Health to identify this practice;

  • Legislation that clarifies that consent is required of a woman for medical experiments or research to be done on her aborted fetus.

  • The Tennessee Infants Protection Act which I sponsored that called for a doctor to test viability before an abortion when the woman is at least 20 weeks past the gestational age except when she is in imminent danger of death or if there is a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function;

  • Two laws preventing taxpayer dollars from going to the abortion industry;

  • A prohibition on abortions where a fetal heartbeat exists and prohibiting discriminatory abortion based on the unborn child’s sex, race or Down syndrome diagnosis; and

  • The Unborn Child Dignity Act advocating for the dignity of the unborn by requiring proper burial or cremation for a surgically aborted child.

Legal challenges remain, but we will continue to work to uphold the value to life of all Tennessee children, both born and unborn.

Contact Hensley at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville Tenn., 37243, by calling 615-741-3100, calling toll free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100, faxing 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald Tenn., 38462, telephone number is 931-796-2018, cell telephone is 931-212-8823, and E- mail:

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