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tennessee legislature passes fetal heartbeat bill, ban on abortions for Down syndrome Natalie Allison Nashville Tennessean

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06/19/2020 12:56 PM

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tennessee legislature passes fetal heartbeat bill, ban on abortions for Down syndrome Natalie Allison Nashville Tennessean
A wide-ranging abortion restriction bill, once believed to be scrapped for the year, will now become law in Tennessee.

The bill, part of Gov. Bill Lee's legislative agenda that was largely abandoned earlier this spring amid the coronavirus pandemic, found new life through last-minute budget negotiations between the House and Senate on Thursday.

It passed the Senate 23-5 just after 12:30 a.m. Friday on a party-line vote.

In addition to banning abortions after the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is as early as six weeks, the legislation also prohibits the procedure:

If the doctor knows that the woman is seeking an abortion because of the child's sex or race.
If the doctor knows the woman is seeking an abortion due to to a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
For juveniles in custody of the Department of Children's Services, including removing the current option to petition a judge for permission.
While there is an exception to the restrictions if a woman's life is in danger, there will be no exceptions for rape or incest.
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