Protecting Life 2016 – 2024

Tennessee consistently leads the nation with the strongest pro-life laws in the country

  • I and other Tennessee Republicans have a strong record of protecting the unborn.
  • The Human Life Protection Act,passed in 2019, made elective abortions illegal in Tennessee after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. (Public Chapter 351, 2019, I was a sponsor of this legislation.
    • The Human Life Protection Act outlawed abortion in Tennessee in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned.
  • In 2023, we reaffirmed our commitment to protecting pregnant women and the unborn by passing a law clarifying that doctors should protect the life of a mother when a nonviable pregnancy endangers her life. (Public Chapter 313, 2023)
  • Before Roe v. Wade was overturned, we worked diligently to prevent abortion through the passage of numerous laws.  
    • This includes initiating a constitutional amendment adopted by Tennessee voters that allowed the General Assembly to enact common-sense restrictions, like a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion and a requirement that abortion facilities be regulated as surgical centers with proper medical professionals on staff.  It also included action to defund Planned Parenthood (Public Chapter 682, Lundberg co-sponsored).

Prohibiting Tennessee tax dollars from going toward abortion 

  • In 2018, Tennessee passed a law that directed TennCare officials to seek a Medicaid waiver to exclude facilities in Tennessee that perform elective abortions from receiving Tennessee taxpayer money. 
  • The money is redirected from elective abortion clinics to other healthcare providers so women will continue to receive care. (Public Chapter 682, 2018) 
  • Republicans further protected the unborn by passing a law that prevents any city, county or metropolitan government from using taxpayer dollars to directly or indirectly assist with obtaining an abortion. The prohibition includes spending taxpayer funds as part of a health benefit plan or for travel to a state where abortion is legal. (Public Chapter 168, 2023, Lundberg  Co-sponsored) 

Taking action against abortion advocacy in public schools

  • In 2022, a law was passed that prohibits an LEA or public charter school seeking assistance in teaching family life from knowingly entering into an agreement with a person or entity that performs abortions, induces abortions, provides abortion referrals, or provides funding, advocacy or other support for abortions. ((Public Chapter 950,  2022)
  • This year we passed the Baby Olivia Act that informs students in family life courses about the biological process of human fetal development from conception to birth. Under the new law, family life curriculum must include a 3-minute video of a high-definition ultrasound or computer-generated animation depicting the growth of vital organs such as the brain and heart in early fetal development.
    • Family life courses already require parental consent for students to participate. (Public Chapter 795, 2024)

Aborting Trafficking 

  • This year, we passed a law that made abortion trafficking of a minor a Class A misdemeanor. The law protects parental rights and stops adults who attempt to circumvent the state’s current abortion law by helping to facilitate an abortion for a minor without parental consent. (Public Chapter 1032, 2024)

The Unborn Child Dignity Act

  • The Unborn Child Dignity Act advocated for the dignity of the unborn by requiring proper burial or cremation for a surgically aborted child was approved in 2021.  
  • The legislation granted the same protection, respect and dignity to a deceased, surgically aborted child required by law to any other deceased human being.  
    • It is based on a similar Indiana law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. (Public Chapter 348, 2021)

Abortion Complication Reporting

  • In 2017, there were 10,810 induced abortions in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Department of Heath which currently releases an annual Induced Termination of Pregnancy Report.  
  • The report details the number of abortions performed but does not indicate the complications that result.  
    • Across the country, these complications are often underreported which has resulted in an inaccurate assessment of the quality of care women are receiving.  
  • The law added reported medical complications of induced terminations to the report. (Public Chapter 307, 2019)

Monument as a Reminder of Unborn Children

  • A  law in 2018 was enacted for a monument to be erected on the Capitol’s campus as a reminder of unborn children. (Public Chapter 1057, 2018)

Tennessee’s commitment to anti-abortion laws before Roe V Wade overturning

  • In 2017, Tennessee passed The Tennessee Infants Protection Act which calls for a doctor to test viability before an abortion when the woman is at least 20 weeks past the gestational age, and there will be a rebuttable presumption that an unborn child of at least 24 weeks is viable.  
    • The measure provides health exceptions in the cases for abortions to be performed after the 20-week time frame, including those in which the mother is in imminent danger of death or if there is a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.(Public Chapter  353, 2017) 
  • Another law passed in 2019 ensured that if an ultrasound was performed as part of an examination prior to an abortion, the person who performed the ultrasound must offer the woman the opportunity to learn the results of the ultrasound. 
    • If the woman elected to learn the results of the ultrasound, the person who performs it or a qualified healthcare provider in the facility performing the ultrasound must, in addition to any other information provided, inform the woman of the presence or absence of a fetal heartbeat. (Public Chapter 862, 2019)
  • One major pro-life legislation, which includes a prohibition on abortions where a fetal heartbeat exists, was approved before the close of the 2020 legislative session.  The legislation included a layered structure that prohibited abortion after the unborn child reached certain gestational age milestones.  
    • The “ladder” provision banned abortions at 11 gestational age milestones ranging from 6 weeks to 24 weeks, with severability clauses for each step of the ladder. The bill’s multi-provision approach significantly enhances Tennessee’s pro-life laws, while testing the limits of current court precedents. (Public Chapter 764, 2020)
  • In 2022, a law passed that created criminal and civil penalties for anyone who provides abortion-inducing drugs through telemedicine and subsequently supplies those drugs via courier, delivery or mail service. 
    • Abortions via mail have become increasingly common since the Federal Drug Administration approved telehealth and mail distribution of abortion-inducing drugs in 2020. (Public Chapter 1001, 2022)