NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Abortion and the state’s “trigger law” are making their way back into the legislative session.
“For one thing, it puts doctors in an untenable position, because they have to choose between their Hippocratic Oath and following the law,” explained Democratic state Sen. Heidi Campbell.
It’s a statement some Tennessee doctors agree with.
“It’s very hard to do my job when I know I can’t provide the service that I once was able to,” said Dr. Heather Maune.
Dr. Maune is a physician in Nashville and says she sees the fear in the eyes of her patients ever since the trigger law went into effect.
“We’ve had patients say they’re moving out of the state or that they are holding off on pregnancies because of it, and I’m hoping that this letter will help reconcile some of those things,” Dr. Maune explained.
This month, Dr. Maune helped write an open letter to lawmakers that was signed by more than 700 doctors, urging them to reconsider the trigger law. In it, doctors talk about their worries, stating the law forces healthcare providers to balance appropriate medical care with the risk of criminal prosecution.
Under the current law, there are no exceptions, including rape or incest. Instead, the law gives doctors a defense to use at trial if a mother’s life was in danger.
Earlier this year, News 2 spoke with one of the prime sponsors of the trigger law, state Rep. Susan Lynn, who pointed to other states like Ohio as a standard practice.
“Out of 70 instances where doctors were quested 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,” said Lynn.
In a statement from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, he stated, “purely elective abortions remain the target of this law.” It continued, “if these imagined ‘flaws’ in our law were ‘fixed’ they would continue to pick apart the law until there was nothing left.”
Meanwhile, Democrats say changing the law will be an uphill battle.
“I think it’s unlikely,” said Campbell.
Below is McNally’s full statement:
“While I respect the opinions of medical doctors in matters of medical treatment, pro-abortion extremists are clearly peddling misinformation to doctors and hospitals regarding our abortion law. Doctors are protected while performing medically-necessary or life-saving care to women under the law. Treatment necessary to ensure the life and health of pregnant women is protected by the affirmative defense exception and always has been. Purely elective abortions remain the target of this law. Those driving the narrative that the law does not contain a true exception or that medically necessary care is outlawed are opposed to the law in its totality. If these imagined ‘flaws’ in our law were ‘fixed,’ they would continue to pick apart the law until there was nothing left. While I am open to ensuring that the law operates as intended, I will not participate in the incremental dismantling of our law. Abortion on demand is over in Tennessee. It will not return.”Lt. Gov. Randy McNally