New Legislation In Tennessee Would Allow Men To Veto Abortions

New Legislation In Tennessee Would Allow Men To Veto Abortions February 12, 2021

GOP War On Women Continues: New proposed legislation in Tennessee would give a man claiming paternity the power to legally prohibit a woman from choosing an abortion. 

HuffPost reports:

A bill introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly this week would allow a man who gets a woman pregnant to request an injunction barring her from having an abortion.

Law & Crime reports:

Republican legislator Rep. Jerry Sexton sponsored a bill this week that would allow men a powerful ability to interfere with a women’s right to have an abortion. State Sen. Mark Pody sponsored the related Senate bill.

The legislation, SB0494 in the Senate and HB1079 in the House, permits a man to seek an injunction that would legally prohibit a woman from terminating her pregnancy. The bill grants the right to the “biological father,” but leaves unmarried women entirely out of the process of determining that status. Instead, it requires only that the petitioner acknowledge paternity in writing.

People reports:

Two Republican lawmakers in Tennessee proposed legislation this week that, if passed and if it survived court challenges, would allow fathers to file a petition to prevent women with whom they conceived a fetus from having an abortion.

The proposed law, SB0494 in the state Senate and HB1079 in the state House of Representatives, states:

As introduced, permits a person to petition a court for an injunction to prohibit a woman who is pregnant with the person’s unborn child from obtaining an abortion; requires the petitioner to execute a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity that is not subject to being rescinded or challenged. 

Commenting on the bill’s sponsor, Republican legislator Rep. Jerry Sexton, Law and Crime notes:

Sexton has come under fire for many of his legislative efforts in the past, including bills that would have designated the Holy Bible, as the state book of Tennessee, ban same-sex marriage in Tennessee, and preserve Confederate statues. … Sexton was a signatory to a letter dated January 5, 2021 supporting Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.

Commenting on the proposed legislation, Francie Hunt, executive director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, said:

This is an unconstitutional, insulting, and dangerous bill. Nobody should have the power to make health care decisions for someone else — not a judge, a partner, and certainly not a rapist regardless of paternity.

The priorities of Tennessee’s politicians are drastically out of step with constituents struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. The legislature needs to stop trying to distract the public from their leadership failures with increasingly stigmatizing abortion restrictions.

Reporting on the story HuffPost notes:

If enacted into law, the measure is likely to be found unconstitutional. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, the Supreme Court struck down a state requirement that a woman notify her husband before she sought an abortion. 

Bottom line: New proposed legislation in Tennessee would give a man claiming paternity the power to legally prohibit a woman from choosing an abortion. 

New Legislation In Tennessee Would Allow Men To Veto Abortions (Image via Screen Grab)
New Legislation In Tennessee Would Allow Men To Veto Abortions (Image via Screen Grab)

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