Tennessee lawmakers are considering a restrictive fetal “heartbeat” abortion bill that some pro-life advocates fear will not survive a legal challenge and could set the movement back for years.
Both sides shared their thoughts during an Aug. 12 state Senate Judiciary Committee working session called a “summer study.” The session was called after the measure stalled earlier this year because advocates failed to garner support from prominent pro-life leaders.
“Tennessee Right to Life continues to express sincere concerns at the proposed passage of this legislation,” Brian Harris, president of the group, said during the gathering. “There is not a single state where a heartbeat bill has been upheld or enforced. Not a single child has been saved or a mother helped as a result of this legislation.”
The session centered on a proposed amendment introduced by state Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, who hopes to redefine fetal viability from when a fetus can survive outside the womb to the moment of conception.
“Our bill is trying to do things in a different way,” Pody told The Tennessean. “A baby is a live human being and should be entitled to any of the constitutional rights as any other person.”
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, brought thousands of petitions supporting the measure to the meeting. He said the passage of New York’s sweeping abortion rights legislation earlier this year was a catalyst for the outcry in Tennessee.
“I believe what happened in New York woke a sleeping giant. Life-loving Tennesseans, including nearly a million Tennessee Baptists, have just begun to rally for life,” the Baptist and Reflector reported. “I stand before you today representing those Tennessee Baptists. We want you to know that we stand for life.”
Davis went on to challenge the legislators to push for the heartbeat bill in the next legislative session, which begins in January, saying, “Let’s be honest. Abortion is largely a violent form of birth control.”
He cautioned the panel not to “be bullied by threats of economic boycott” as has happened in several other states which have passed similar “heartbeat” bills, including Georgia. At least eight states have passed such legislation.
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Source: Christian Headlines