NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which gave people the constitutional right to an abortion, leaders in Nashville began racing to work around Tennessee’s abortion ban. With less than a month to get something passed before the ban goes into effect, two Metro Council city leaders are hoping to implement changes.
“As Council, as a body, we are saying that we stand with our community, that we stand firm by woman’s right to choose, and individuals’ right to choose, and that we are not going to just stand here and take it. We are going to do everything that we can, we are going to look for every creative solution to make sure that we’re addressing this. This has to be addressed at every level of government,” said Delishia Porterfield, who represents District 29 on the Metro Nashville Council.
Hours after the Supreme Court ruling, Councilwoman Porterfield introduced a resolution, that focused on protecting those who may want to have an abortion. In her resolution, she outlines how the city should move forward, including asking the Metro Nashville Police Department to make abortion investigations, its “lowest priority.”
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“We don’t want anyone to fear that MNPD will investigate them, or even any allegations of someone going to get an abortion. MNPD has a lot on their plate, there are a lot of many priorities in this city that they can focus on, and we want to make sure that women’s healthcare is not the business of our police department,” explained Porterfield.
The resolution asks for the Metro Council to take several actions including:
- Requests MNPD make criminal enforcement, arrest, and investigation of abortion its lowest priority, and restrict city funds and city staff from being used to investigate, catalog, or report suspected abortions
- Implement and enforce policies and practices to prevent harassment and disruption at abortion clinics, including noise regulations, parking and traffic regulations
- Support reproductive health rights, and requests Metro HR and MDHA to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of reproductive health decisions
“We just want to make sure that city dollars, that taxpayer dollars, is not going to fund, or not going to be used to investigate any allegations of someone has an abortion. Again, that’s a private decision, so we as a city should not be using our taxpayer dollars to investigate this,” Porterfield said.
Over in District 19, another call to action is forming. Councilman Freddie O’Connell is working to provide other options for women seeking out an abortion.
“I felt like we got to explore what actions we can take to put women’s health choices back in their own hands,” said O’Connell.
O’Connell is now looking for a way to create a fund in order to help those who are looking to travel to other states in order to have an abortion. He explained Planned Parenthood has announced something similar, and he now hopes to expand it to Nashvillians.
“There would be funding available to defray the cost of your needing to go to another state, literally to make a healthcare choice,” O’Connell explained. “They may want to go to a state that offers safe and legal abortions. If they do, ordinarily they would have had that clinical access here in Nashville. They wouldn’t anymore, and so I would like to make sure that we are off-setting those costs for Nashvillians that may need to do the extraordinary.”
O’Connell considers the Supreme Court’s decision a public health crisis and is hoping public funds will help create this new program. He says immediate action is necessary, with Tennessee’s trigger law set to go into effect in this than a month.
Both ideas will be presented before the Metro Council during the next regularly scheduled meeting.