A Tennessee lawmaker has filed a bill that would require physicians to provide women seeking an abortion with misleading state-mandated information. The bill is now one of multiple anti-choice bills that have already been filed in preparation for what is expected to be a legislative session full of attacks on reproductive rights in Tennessee.
If passed, Tennessee would join 35 states requiring women to receive state-mandated counseling before an abortion is performed, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The bill requires physicians to “orally” inform women seeking an abortion of six pieces of information and requires that the woman “sign a consent form acknowledging that she has been informed by her attending physician.”
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The information that must be provided includes confirmation that the woman is pregnant and the number of weeks gestation of the pregnancy. If the woman is more than 24 weeks pregnant, the physician is required to tell the woman the fetus is “capable of surviving outside of the womb.”
The physician must also tell the woman that abortion “in a considerable number of cases constitutes a major surgical procedure”; that she can be provided with “a list of the agencies and the services available” to assist her if she chooses to carry the pregnancy to term; and that “numerous benefits and risks are attendant either to continued pregnancy and childbirth or to abortion depending upon the circumstances.”
In November, Tennessee voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that allows lawmakers to pass legislation to restrict abortion. Beavers was one of the sponsors of the resolution that placed the amendment on the ballot.
After the approval of the amendment, Beavers told the syndicated radio program The Takeaway that the abortion restrictions were meant to make abortion “safe for women.” Beavers did not directly address questions about whether she wanted to make it more difficult for women to have an abortion in the state.
“I want to make sure that the women go to a place that is safe and clean, and that she realizes what she’s doing,” Beavers said. “Right now in Tennessee a woman can come across our state line from a state that has more restrictions and have an abortion and return home that day without even thinking about what she’s doing.”
Since the approval of the constitutional amendment, anti-choice lawmakers have prepared to introduce legislation to reinstate the previously struck down abortion laws and create new laws restricting access to abortion.
A recent poll found that residents in the state support limited restrictions on abortion.