In August, Tennessee’s Human Life Protection Act went into effect, banning abortion statewide from conception. Contrary the abortion lobby’s alarmist rhetoric, there are no dead bodies in the streets, no women being denied life-saving treatment, and nobody will be investigated simply for having a miscarriage.
Instead, lives are being saved through this ban on the murder of innocent human beings. In Tennessee, some 12,000 abortions were committed last year, almost enough to fill AT&T Field twice. Because of this law, each and every Tennessean, no matter how small, is guaranteed the right to life, a huge step forward in the fight for human rights for all Americans, born and unborn.
That’s why the pro-life movement will continue to stand for science, logic and love by opposing any and all attempts by pro-abortion Democrats and weakened, unprincipled Republicans in the state legislature to amend or weaken our current abortion ban in any way.
No matter when or how they are conceived, each and every unborn child has the right to life. Being conceived in rape or incest does not lessen their humanity, their value or their worthiness to be protected by this state.
The abortion lobby’s shocking use of victims of tragic circumstances such as rape in the wake of the Dobbs decision is a sickening exposé of the culture of death that has a stranglehold on our country. But in Tennessee, we’ll fight for every life, no matter what. Human beings are not disposable, no matter what.
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Dear Mr. Reynolds,
Your assessment that Tennessee’s abortion ban isn’t as harmful as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it is seems premature to say the least, given that it went into effect three weeks ago.
When I read your letter, a few thoughts came to mind:
First, you won’t know about the harm this bill causes unless you somehow have access to the medical records of every pregnant person in Tennessee, or unless someone you know extremely well is affected. Most women don’t talk to casual acquaintances (or the media) about their reproductive health and problem pregnancies.
Second, the dead bodies won’t be in the streets. They’ll be in hospitals or in homes—in bathrooms, specifically. Patients who have already gotten the devastating news that the baby inside them is dead or dying will be further traumatized by having to deliver those babies in the toilet (or in the bathtub, to contain the bleeding).
I know this is uncomfortable reading. I’m sorry. Reproductive health is messy business.
Tennessee’s abortion ban is the most restrictive in the country. One hundred percent of abortions are now illegal here. That means any doctor who performs one, for any reason, is now subject to felony charges. The doctor may use “life of the mother” as a criminal defense in court, but only after having been arrested and prosecuted. It’s not clear whether the doctor would be able to practice while awaiting a verdict. You can see how docs might take a pass on providing life- or health-saving abortions under these circumstances.
Therefore women and girls suffering incomplete miscarriage—or some other medical emergency for which abortion may be medically necessary, like uterine infection, ectopic pregnancy or severe preeclampsia—will now have to wait for an abortion until they're almost-dead enough that their doctors feel confident they can successfully defend themselves in court.
Keep in mind that abortion has been considered the standard of care for various medical problems for decades. My mom, who died in 2019 at age 88, had four miscarriages. Every one of them broke her heart. I know she required at least one D&C, a medical abortion, to remove the fetal tissue. If she hadn’t, she might not have survived, I might not be here, and neither would my three daughters. (By your measure of lives saved, that’s five people sitting in the stands at AT&T Field.) Now, half a century later, if one of my two daughters who lives in Tennessee needs a D&C, she might bleed out before she’s able receive one.
Third, you talk a lot about the importance of valuing and protecting children. I completely agree. I think that a pregnant child—who has by definition been raped—should not be further traumatized by being forced by the state to carry a pregnancy to term (something a child cannot safely do). I think that an unborn child with a genetic defect incompatible with life outside the womb should not be forced by the state to suffer unnecessarily. And I think that the unborn child’s mother (who didn’t stop having value or deserving protection once she stopped being a child) should not be forced by the state to endure nine months of pregnancy and then labor and delivery, just to watch that child suffer and die.
The woman bleeding out in the bathtub. The raped and pregnant child. The mother carrying a baby doomed to slowly suffocate once it’s born. These are all recent examples of real people impacted by abortion bans in other states—states whose bans aren’t as restrictive as Tennessee’s.
I point that out because so many people refuse to believe something bad is happening unless it’s happening to them or to someone they love.
The mission of reducing abortion rates is a noble one. We know from experience that we can significantly reduce abortion rates through science-based sex education and by making the most effective types of birth control free and easily available. These preventive strategies work without taking intimate, life-altering medical decisions out of the hands of women and their doctors, where they belong, and putting them in the hands of state legislators who either don’t understand or don’t care about women’s reproductive health.
For the well-being of all Tennesseans, we must have legislators who are willing to deal in facts, with all their complexities and nuance, and not passing laws based on some black-and-white world they wish existed.
Democratic nominee, TN House of Representatives, D26