Two Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill that would let the father of an unborn child block the mother of the child from getting an abortion.
Republican State Senator Mark Pody and Republican State Representative Jerry Sexton are sponsoring this legislation.
The bill states that the father of an unborn child could bring a petition before the court, and if he proves that he's the biological father and wants to raise the child, and that the mother is seeking an abortion, a judge could choose to issue an injunction. That means the mother wouldn't be able to have an abortion and could face legal penalties if she did.
Fox 17 News spoke with Senator Pody Friday. "If he can prove to the courts that he is the father, the biological father, then he has rights to what's going on with his son or daughter," Senator Pody said.
Pody says the mother would be able to provide her own argument as to why she should go through with the abortion, and medical issues would be taken into consideration.
Hearings for the injunction would have to be held within 14 days after the petition is filed.
"In this case, we're saying that we want that father who is just as much of a parent as that mother is, it took two of them to create this human being, and we believe that they should have that opportunity to raise that child," Pody said.
Francie Hunt is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, and she says this legislation is both insulting and unconstitutional.
"I think it's just a real slap in the face to pregnant people and a dishonor of their role as pregnant people to have sovereignty over their own bodies," Hunt said. "No one should have veto power over your own bodily autonomy, that's the bottom line."
Statement from Francie Hunt, Executive Director, Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood:
"A pregnant person must have the ultimate control over their body and their pregnancy. This is an unconstitutional, insulting, and dangerous bill. Nobody should have the power to make health care decisions for someone else — not a judge, a partner, and certainly not a rapist regardless of paternity. Tennessee politicians' priorities couldn't be more out of step with the dire needs of their constituents as they suffer from the consequences of Gov. Lee's botched response to the pandemic. The legislature needs to stop trying to distract the public from their leadership failures with increasingly stigmatizing abortion restrictions."
Last year, Governor Lee signed his heartbeat bill banning most abortions, but that's being challenged in court right now.
The bill will be heard in the Tennessee legislature in the next few months.