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Tennessee House to discuss offense of transporting minor for abortion


(The Center Square) – A bill that would make it a misdemeanor offense punishable by just less than a year of imprisonment for assisting in bringing a minor across state lines for an abortion without parental permission reach House committee on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1971 passed the Senate 26-3 last week with Sen. Paul Rose, R-Covington, saying its goal is to protect parental rights and prevent other adults from assisting a minor in circumventing Tennessee law in obtaining an abortion.

The offense would be called abortion trafficking and can only be avoided with signed and notarized parental consent.

“In this state we have taken a strong pro-life position on abortion, and this legislation upholds our pro-life, pro-family and pro-parent values,” Rose said. “The bill makes clear that unless a parent approves, another adult cannot take a minor across state lines to receive an abortion.”

Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, and other Democrats voted against the measure after asking for amendments to place exceptions for rape and incest.

“We are saying that, if the father rapes his child and the child gets pregnant, that the parents still have to consent to work with any adult to remove that pregnancy,” Yarbro said. “A raped child has to go to the rapist and seek out permission before they go see a doctor. We need to take a long look at ourselves about this.”

Rose said that the discussion of exceptions is part to prior state abortion law discussion, not this bill, which only adds in stipulations related to transporting minors for procedures that are outlawed in Tennessee.

A Tennessee trigger law passed in 2019 went into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade.