Explaining her decision to block an exemption for rape and incest victims from Tennessee’s newest proposed abortion restrictions, State Rep. Sheila Butt made the peculiar argument that such an exemption shouldn’t exist because rape and incest isn’t typically “verifiable.”
Democratic Rep. Craig Fitzhugh proposed the amendment, along with another that offered an exemption for mental health reasons, as part of the restrictions put forth in HB 977. The bill would mandate counseling and a 48-hour wait period for any woman who wanted an abortion, except in cases of medical emergencies. Fitzhugh’s proposed amendments would have bypassed the wait period for those additional cases.
Butt, a Republican, took umbrage with both suggestions. An exemption for mental health, she argued, was simply a “loophole for the abortion industry.” Her response to the exemption for rape and incest victims was equally callous.
This amendment appears political because we understand in most instances, this is not verifiable. Let’s make sure that these women have the information and the understanding to act.