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Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn speaks at Politicon 2019 in Nashville.

During a visit with Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson on Tuesday, Senator Marsha Blackburn championed the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe. v. Wade, and vowed support for future legislation that would further limit accessibility to abortions.

Background

By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, a ruling that established certain protections for women’s ability to undergo abortion procedures. With Roe v. Wade’s overturning, abortion rights will largely be decided by individual states.

A total of 13 states, including Tennessee, have previously passed "trigger ban" laws, which are laws that extremely limit or outright ban abortions in all cases. These laws were designed to be triggered immediately were Roe v. Wade ever overturned.

Passed in 2019, Tennessee’s trigger ban law, known as the Human Life Protection Act, outright bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with the only exception being for the prevention of death or serious injury to the mother. There is no exception for rape or incest, and the bill also makes it a class C felony for doctors to perform or attempt to perform an abortion.

‘We should be celebrating life at all stages’

The visit to Anderson’s office in Franklin was part of Blackburn’s annual tour of all 95 of Tennessee’s counties. Discussing future needs of the county, Blackburn also used her visit to speak with media about her thoughts on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“We should be celebrating life at all stages,” Blackburn said. “For moms that choose life over abortion, we need to come along and walk beside them and help them as they transition to being a parent.”

While she would not directly say whether or not she supported a federal abortion ban as has been touted by people like former Vice President Mike Pence, Blackburn did say she would support future legislation that would further limit accessibility to abortions.

“There will come a time when we're going to look at legislation on the federal level; the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City policy, and I am going to be there to support that legislation at the federal level as needed.”

Established in 1980, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision that prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. In effect, it limits accessibility to abortion services for those enrolled in federal health insurance programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as for federal and government employees.

The Hyde Amendment is not a permanent law, but has instead been regularly attached to different bills.

Instituted in 1984, the Mexico City policy is a government policy that blocks federal funding from being directed toward non-government international entities that perform abortion services. Despite the policy’s intention, the medical journal The Lancet found in a 2019 study that the Mexico City policy actually increased abortion rates by 95% in counties “highly exposed to the policy” over a seven-year period.

The Mexico City policy is also not a permanent law, and has instead been reinstated by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan, and rescinded by every Democratic president since its inception.

Blackburn championed the Supreme Court’s decision as a victory for pro-life activists across the country, and suggested the decision would help energize conservatives ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

“I've worked side-by-side with so many of our pro-life activists for decades, and this victory is their victory,” Blackburn said.

“It is our pro-life activists and so many of our churches that have worked tirelessly to build a culture of life and have people choose life. This is a time where people are going to be so energized; they see the result of their dedication and their commitment.”