MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Tennessee state government is debating legislation that would ban abortions starting at six weeks – the first sign of fetal heartbeat.
The House passed the controversial measure in March and now it is moving through the state Senate.
Planned Parenthood believes this legislation would set reproductive rights back a generation, but pro-life groups said this is about protecting the most vulnerable.
Planned Parenthood performs between 8,000 and 9,000 abortions a year in the state of Tennessee. But many of those abortions would become illegal if Tennessee passes the proposed legislation.
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This debate at the Tennessee state house comes just a few weeks after Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed similar legislation.
Norma Lester is a retired nurse. She said there should be some regulation for abortions but closer to three months, not six weeks.
“These ladies have these babies, they don’t want them. How many of them are you going to take home and take care of?” said Lester. “Even if you don’t take them, how many are you going to be able to provide her with money to take care of this baby?”
Pro-life nonprofits like the Memphis Coalition for Life said they will step in and have been stepping in for women. They have worked with 130 women over the past year alone.
“We understand that a crisis pregnancy may not go away just because it’s illegal to get an abortion. That crisis is still there, so we’re here to offer support her help and a lot of choices and to walk with her every step of the way,” said Jessica Wade, executive director of the nonprofit.
Wade supports the legislation because it protects the most vulnerable.
If this legislation is passed, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee told FOX13 they will likely pursue legal action.
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