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TN Bill will make it Illegal for Adults to Help Minors get an Abortion Without Parental Consent

Republican lawmakers in Tennessee on Wednesday advanced legislation making it illegal for adults to help minors get an abortion without parental consent, sparking objections from Democrats who counter that doing so could result in young victims needing approval from their parents who may have raped them in order to terminate the pregnancies.

The GOP-controlled Senate approved the proposal 26-3. The bill is still advancing toward the floor in the House.

Under the Senate version advanced Wednesday, those convicted of breaking the law would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which would require a nearly one-year imprisonment sentence. This differs from the proposal being considered in the GOP-controlled House, where supporters want the penalties to be a Class C felony, which can carry up to a 15-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines.

Tennessee bans abortions at all stages of pregnancy, but there are exemptions in cases of molar pregnancies, ectopic pregnancies, and to remove a miscarriage or to save the life of the mother. Notably, doctors must use their “reasonable medical” judgment — a term that some say is too vague and can be challenged by fellow medical officials — in deciding whether providing the procedure can save the life of the pregnant patient or prevent major injury.