Tags: Abortion | tennessee | abortion | laws | compare | nationally

Tennessee Abortion Laws and How They Compare Nationally

By    |   Thursday, 20 August 2015 05:20 PM

Tennessee lies slightly right of center when it comes to legislating abortion.

The landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade gave women the right to an abortion, but left it to the states to determine enforcement. The Volunteer State passed a number of laws that represented obstacles, such as mandatory, biased counseling with a narrative intended to discourage the procedure. Among the topics tackled is the fetus' "viability" at certain stages of development, the risks involved, and alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, according to the Guttmacher Institute research group.

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Tennessee is also one of 23 states that require abortion providers to meet ambulatory surgical center standards. In May 2015, Gov. Bill Haslam signed a mandate to impose a 48-hour waiting period following the in-person consultation. That went into effect in July, making Tennessee the 27th state with some form of waiting period, according to The Tennessean.

For these restrictions, Tennessee was ranked 28th in a 2015 "report card" by abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America. The rankings were based on each state's laws and whether they protected a women's right to have an abortion. A lower ranking typically signified more unfair restrictions, in NARAL's view.

Despite its seemingly middle-of-the-road standing, Tennessee received a grade of F from NARAL.

Tennessee was largely in concert with all of its eight border states, which ranked in the bottom 25 states: Georgia (29), North Carolina (30), Kentucky (34), Alabama (tie for 39th), Arkansas (41), Virginia (42), Missouri (45), and Mississippi (49). California is No. 1, while Louisiana ranks last, according to NARAL.

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The script gets flipped in the view of Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group. The group noted in its 2014 report card that Tennessee state law "includes an unborn child at any point in gestation as a potential victim of homicide."

Tennessee health plans offered through the state's health exchange under the Affordable Care Act may not cover an abortion, and public funding is only available in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger. The parents of a minor must also be informed. These restrictions are common for many pro-life leaning states.

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Tennessee lies slightly right of center when it comes to legislating abortion.
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Thursday, 20 August 2015 05:20 PM
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