NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — “The next time you see us here, we could be in handcuffs,” Dr. Amy Gordon Bono said.
With the near-total abortion law taking effect Thursday, some doctors spoke out, including Gordon Bono. The new law says physicians will be charged with a Class-C felony if they do the procedure.
“Every day since I’ve learned about the implications of the trigger ban, I worry about becoming a felon,” obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Laura Andreson said.
There is a murky clause for doctors who determine there is an emergency need for an abortion.
“The abortion provider can mount an affirmative defense for acting to save the mother’s life,” Gordon Bono said. “But the scales of justice are tipped in favor of the state with an affirmative defense, instead of an exception to the law.”
The onus is on each doctor to prove the case was an emergency. In fact, in the Human Life Protection Act, there isn’t even a penalty for the person receiving the abortion—only the doctor performing it.
“The bill contains an affirmative defense, which I think is a very smart thing,” Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) said. “We’re trusting doctors to make that medical decision. They have the medical expertise, and they have the medical records that can prove that they acted rightly.”
Lynn was a prime sponsor of the bill when it was introduced in 2019.
“What would you say to doctors who say, ‘This is going to unfairly prosecute us?’” News 2 asked.
Lynn’s answer: “I think they’re wrong.”
She cited the state of Ohio’s abortion law as a good example of affirmative defense.
“Out of 70 instances where doctors were questioned about abortions performed to save the life of the mother, all they had to do was turn over their records, and not one was ever prosecuted,” Lynn said.
The doctors say no matter what, they’ll do what they feel is necessary.
“In any case, I will care for the patient. It is my responsibility, it is my oath,” Andreson said. “There’s no way I’m going to watch a woman die, but it presents me with a felony.”