Mayor Cooper, Planned Parenthood hosts ‘Post Roe’ forum where legal, medical experts explain trigger law

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:22 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tennessee’s abortion law goes into effect on August 25, banning the procedure across the state.

Concerns over patient care and physicians’ rights were the center of the discussion during Thursday night’s Planned Parenthood and City of Nashville event.

The event was hosted by Nashville Mayor John Cooper along with Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi where attorneys and physicians answered questions.

Medical doctors apart of the forum said the law will tie their hands on having to choose between the oath they took or breaking the law.

“In 1991, when I made the decision to be an OBGYN as a third-year medical student, I had no idea I would be setting myself up to be a criminal,” Carolyn Thompson said.

Legal experts shared the facts of the law for women seeing abortion pills.

“A person in Tennessee right now cannot order or receive abortion pills from an out-of-state pharmacy and have those mailed to Tennessee…that’s a crime,” explained Wallace Dietz, Metropolitan Government Law Director.

Someone could travel out of state for abortion pills where it is legal, but they would have to stay in that state until they finish out the prescription. Experts said it is critical for physicians to know the law.

“Providers get your lawyers to read the law and give you solid advice,” said Dr. Ellen Clayton, with Vanderbilt.

“There is no way for an emergency doctor and I assume an OB physician as well to tell the difference between a miscarriage and a self-induced abortion,” Dr. Katrina Green explained.

Medical experts have suggested women who are seeking abortions not discuss it through any online platforms.

“Do not publish what you’re doing about abortions on social media,” Clayton said. “Do not do that. There was a case yesterday in Nebraska where a woman and her mother posted on social media about doing a late abortion that is illegal in Nebraska...and Facebook understandably when they got served with a warrant, handed over the information.”

Officials also mentioned how the state’s abortion law has several gray areas of concern where the message isn’t clear.

“Outside of this law being ambiguous, in some sense what it does for my and my medical colleagues is it takes from the place of being physicians to being lawyers,” said Dr. Kim Looney with Meharry Medical College.

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