Gov. Bill Lee Statement on Dobbs Ruling

Friday, June 24, 2022 | 10:57am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee released the following statement on the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and shared critical information about current Tennessee law. 

“Today’s landmark Supreme Court decision marks the beginning of a hopeful, new chapter for our country,” said Gov. Lee. “After years of heartfelt prayer and thoughtful policy, America has an historic opportunity to support women, children and strong families while reconciling the pain and loss caused by Roe v. Wade. We have spent years preparing for the possibility that authority would return to the states, and Tennessee’s laws will provide the maximum possible protection for both mother and child. In the coming days, we will address the full impacts of this decision for Tennessee.”

Tennessee Laws Enacted Since 2019

Governor Lee has introduced and worked with the Tennessee General Assembly to pass maximum possible protection for pre-born children.

·       Trigger Law – With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, this law will criminalize performing or attempting to perform an abortion, except in cases where it is necessary to prevent death or serious and permanent bodily injury to the mother. (TCA 39-15-213)

o   This law will take effect on the thirtieth day after the Supreme Court issues a judgment overturning Roe v. Wade. It does not apply to the recipient of an abortion.

·       Anti-Discrimination Law – Prohibits abortion on the basis of sex, race or Down Syndrome (TCA 39-15-217)

·       Ultrasound Law – Requires a physician to perform an ultrasound, making the ultrasound images visible and the fetal heartbeat audible for the expecting mother (TCA 39-15-215)

·       Heartbeat Law – Prohibits an abortion where a fetal heartbeat exists, in increments beginning at six weeks (TCA 39-15-216)

o   *Currently enjoined and subject to ongoing litigation

In 2021, Tennessee successfully defended the 48-Hour Waiting Period law before the en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (TCA 39-15-202)

Expanded Support for Families in Crisis

·       Supporting new and expecting mothers enrolled in TennCare by enhancing maternal health care coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum

·       Expanding TennCare’s Health Starts Initiative to support maternal health and holistic care for mothers and children

·       Reforming the TANF program to promote economic mobility and improve outcomes for parents and children

Investments in Public-Private Partnerships

·       Launching Tennessee Fosters Hope, a public-private partnership, to ensure every Tennessee child has a safe, loving home and make our state the most foster-friendly state in America

·       $433,000 to Psalm 139 Ministries to place ultrasounds in crisis pregnancy centers across the state

·       $1 million to Agape to support expecting and new mothers

Ways to Care for Families in Crisis

Tennesseans who want to lend support to families in crisis are encouraged to get involved through the following organizations:

·       Hope Clinic for Women – more info here

·       Psalm 139 Project – more info here

·       Agape Child & Family Services – more info here