Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini has responded to Gov. Bill Lee's "heartbeat bill" announcement on Thursday.
Mancini, claiming Gov. Lee's bill was "against reproductive rights," released the following statement to FOX 17 News on Thursday morning:
No politician should be in the middle of the decision to end a pregnancy, choose adoption, or raise a child. This is always a heart wrenching decision and must be left to a woman, her family and her faith, in consultation with her doctor or health care provider.
If Republicans were acting in the best interests of women and families they would put forth real solutions. They would work with Democrats to legitimately reduce the number of unintended pregnancies through policy that will actually work: Age-appropriate reproductive health education (including teaching abstinence) and access to affordable contraceptives and affordable reproductive health for all.
The proposed bill would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Lee was surrounded by lawmakers Thursday for the announcement. It would also require an ultrasound to be conducted. Another provision Lee said is that the physician would not be able to perform an abortion if they are aware that the action is "motivated by sex, race or disability diagnosis of the child."
Gov. Lee said the proposed bill was different than last year's proposed heartbeat bill, claiming it was "enhanced" to be more likely to make its way through the courts. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally reiterated that the new bill has severability clauses that differ from the previously proposed heartbeat bill.
Democratic Sen. Jeff Yarbo criticized Gov. Lee, claiming his "first legislative priority for 2020 is engaging in divisive, extreme politics." Several other Democratic politicians also addressed their concerns during a press conference at the Cordell Hull Press Conference room on Thursday, which can be viewed below: