Sen. London Lamar: Abortion exception bill, as amended, endangers the lives of women
NASHVILLE — Sen. London Lamar, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, issued a statement today following her vote against Senate Bill 745.
The legislation, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on an 8–1 vote, would amend Tennessee’s extreme, no-exceptions abortion ban with a narrow exemption for a dying mother.
Sen. London Lamar’s statement:
“The bill that passed committee today was written by an anti-abortion lobbyist. In the final draft, there is no input from doctors, nurses or anyone who has been pregnant.
“The legislation endangers the lives of women by perversely increasing legal protections for doctors the closer their pregnant patients get to death.
“That’s an irresponsible and unconstitutional burden to put on women and healthcare providers. And it is exactly why doctors and women should be empowered to make life-saving decisions without government interference.”
Changes in the bill
Currently, Tennessee’s abortion law has no exceptions for the life and health of the mother. None for rape or incest, nor for child pregnancies.
As amended, the legislation eliminates the “affirmative defense” that presumed doctors to be guilty of a felony for performing an abortion for any reason.
The legislation replaces the affirmative defense with a standard of “reasonableness,” a subjective standard that still leaves doctors open to criminal prosecution.
Without language that specifically protects the health of a pregnant patient, the bill, as amended, encourages doctors to wait until a pregnancy complication becomes nearly fatal, the Memphis senator says.