With President Trump, sponsors of bills broadening TN abortion ban optimistic about passage, court challenges

State Rep.  Micah Van Huss has filed a bill (HB108) that would prohibit abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, typically around the eighth week of pregnancy, while Rep. Terry Lynn Weaver is sponsoring a bill (HB101) that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks.

Both bills would violate current abortion rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court, but Van Huss, R-Gray, tells the Johnson City Press that those rulings can change with President Donald Trump appointing new justices for approval of a Republican-controlled Congress.

Van Huss said Thursday that the point during gestation in which a heartbeat can be detected is the earliest markable point in pregnancy, usually between six and 12 weeks, but at an average of eight.

“It’s quite a jump,” he said of the proposed change from the state’s current criminal abortion statute, which sets the threshold at the point of viability of the fetus, which is normally between 24 and 26 weeks.

“If enacted, it will eliminate about 90 percent of abortions in the state, and it goes in tandem with my belief that unborn children should have the right to life,” he said.

…Van Huss said he’s banking on newly elected President Donald Trump to appoint a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court, which may be asked to consider early abortion bills.

“I can’t say whether or not I expect it to go to the Supreme Court, it’s not the intention of the bill,” he said. “But if it does go to the Supreme Court, I would hope they would rule to protect life.”

Weaver, R-Lancaster, had a similar bill last year, but never pushed for a vote in a House subcommittee when it appeared likely to fail. She tells The Tennessean things seem different this year.

“I think the climate and the culture, the pendulum is swinging…It’s the right thing to do…”There’s a time and a season for everything… People are understanding, our culture is changing. These are individual babies.”

Also from The Tennessean:

“None of this is about protecting the health and safety of women,” said Jeff Teague, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle & Eastern Tennessee.

“Given the results of the election and the promise of the president to appoint justices who are going to be hostile to Roe, I think it is part of nationwide strategy to do everything possible to get cases back before the Supreme Court to overturn that decision to make abortion illegal and ban it in this country.”


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