What President Biden’s order means for Tennessee


Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - On Friday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on abortion rights. A local political science professor broke down what that means for Tennessee.

“To a large degree, it’s a political response,” John Vile said, a political science professor at MTSU, who believes the order won’t have much effect on Tennessee at all.

It in part outlines measures to protect women seeking out-of-state abortions. According to Vile, Tennessee’s trigger law does not penalize women for abortion to begin with, only the provider, nor does it ban out of state travel. “We have an interstate right to travel,” Vile explained. “I think Tennessee can try at least to prohibit legal abortions within the state, but we don’t have the right to determine what Illinois is going to do.”

Amid pressure to find another path to federally legal abortion, President Biden took the opportunity to address midterm elections.

“You would not have a sufficient number of congressmen to try to protect abortion nationwide, and [it] seems unlikely that you will have such a majority in the near future,” Vile said. “The most obvious legal path for either side would have been to adopt a constitution amendment, which clearly states that we understand the right to abortion is protected, or we understand that the constitution does not protect it. That requires two thirds majority of both houses of congress, and ratification of three quarters of the states.”

For more on the contents of the executive order, click here.

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