Abortion bills headed to Governor Haslam’s desk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After nearly two hours of sometimes fiery debate, the Tennessee House late Tuesday morning sent one major abortion bill to Governor Bill Haslam, with another likely soon on the way.

The major element of one bill requires a 48-hour waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion with the informed consent of a physician.

Senate members still need to approve an amendment added that would keep certain portions of the bill, if other parts are struck down.

The second measure allows for inspection or licensing of facilities performing abortions similar to the regulations for outpatient surgical centers.

The bills are the culmination of a 15-year effort by abortion opponents to restore some restrictions struck down by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000.

Tennessee voters last fall opened the door to the bills by approving new language in the state constitution allowing lawmakers to change state laws regarding abortion.

Some Democrats joined the Republican majority in overwhelmingly supporting the two bills passed in this morning in the House.

A spokesperson says Governor Haslam is “likely” to sign the two abortion bills.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood, which challenged similar laws in the 1990s that were struck down by the Tennessee Supreme Court, say they will be monitoring implementation of the two new bills.

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