To the Editor:

Republicans in the Tennessee legislature have introduced a bill that would make it a crime to perform or obtain an abortion in Tennessee after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This bill is so restrictive that Tennessee Right to Life, a group that advocates against abortions, opposes the measure because they believe it would not survive legal challenges.

This bill would make it a crime to either provide OR receive an abortion after 8 weeks (when a fetal heartbeat is detectable).The only exception is a medical emergency.  There is no mention of rape, incest or mental health exceptions. Many women would not even know they were pregnant before 8 weeks.

Unfortunately, this bill will not actually reduce abortions, which is, I assume, the intended purpose?

Here are the proven ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies:

  • Ensure birth control and family planning is freely available to adolescents and adults

  • Expand Medicaid so low income mothers can have access to family planning  and prenatal care that helps prevent birth defects

  • Sexuality education programs that provide information on both abstinence and contraceptives appear to be effective in delaying the onset of sexual intercourse and encouraging contraceptive use once sexual activity has begun, especially among younger adolescents.

The underlying and unsaid problem that the GOP have with these ways is that they want to control and legislate who should and should not be having sex.  Stop forcing your religious beliefs on the rest of us in Tennessee. See also, Amendment 1 of the U.S. constitution.

Lori Coleman
Franklin 37067