The Governor of Tennessee has announced that he will sign a Bill protecting unborn babies from abortion once a heartbeat can be detected.
Governor Bill Lee tweeted: “One of the most important things we can do to be pro-family is to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our state, and there is none more vulnerable than the unborn.”
House Bill 2263 will prevent an abortion from taking place once a heartbeat can be detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy. Abortions after that time will only be permitted if there is a medical emergency.
Before proceeding with an abortion, doctors must tell the mother the gestational age of her unborn child, display ultrasound images and play her child’s heartbeat if audible.
The legislation prevents unborn babies from being aborted on the grounds of race, sex, or Down’s syndrome.
The Bill also requires facilities which perform more than 50 abortions a year to inform mothers that it may be possible to reverse a chemical abortion if the second pill has not been taken. If facilities do not do this, they can be fined up to $10,000.
Governor Lee called it “the strongest pro-life law in our state’s history”.
The Bill follows several other US states which passed laws last year protecting unborn babies from abortion after a heartbeat is detected.
In January, the US Supreme Court refused to block a Kentucky law requiring doctors to describe ultrasound images to mothers seeking an abortion.
Abortion doctors were appealing a previous ruling upholding the law, which would also require doctors to play mothers their child’s heartbeat.
Lawyers for Kentucky had said that “nothing can better inform a patient of the nature and consequences of an abortion than actually seeing an image of the fetus who will be aborted and receiving a medically-accurate description of that image”.