Healthcare in Handcuffs: TN doctors split on abortion ban

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the state of Tennessee's trigger ban went into effect.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:35 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Doctors are now prohibited from providing abortions in Tennessee. Some doctors believe it is a law that will risk patients’ lives. So they held a protest Thursday outside the Justice A.A. Birch building downtown. While some doctors say the abortion ban is a slap in the face, others view it as a victory.

Franklin gynecologist Dr. Laura Andreson said the state’s total abortion ban concerns doctors. “Every day since the implication of the trigger ban, I worry about becoming a felon,” Andreson said.

The new law makes it a felony for doctors to give abortions in Tennessee. However, there is an affirmative defense if the mother’s life is at risk. “Care providers may question management and delay actions due to fear of criminal charges,” Andreson said. “As physicians fear felonies, outcomes could include mother’s dying.”

Andreson and other local doctors spoke against the abortion ban Thursday in downtown Nashville. One man who agreed with the prohibition, Bo Alford, shouted counterarguments. “I am out here today because this is a huge day in Tennessee history,” Alford said. “I think it is great.”

Alford engaged with some in the crowd as WSMV 4 heard Metro Police tell both sides to respect the other’s views. “This is beautiful,” Alford said. “I woke up today thanking God. I have been working on it for so long. I have done a lot of nonprofit work and work on social media trying to get the message out. Seeing this happen in my lifetime, all glory to God.”

Andreson said, “Only until you have sat in the silence that occurs after having to deliver a terrible diagnosis to a parent or informing a woman is hemorrhaging that the only way to save her life is to end her pregnancy do you have a right to weigh in on this subject.”

Some Metro Council members announced Thursday they are filing a proposal to give Planned Parenthood hundreds of thousands of dollars for things like sex education, supplies, and assistance to get abortions outside of the state.