Activists to Deliver over 1,000 Letters to Haslam’s Office
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has vowed to sign a bill into law that would force women seeking abortion – even in instances of rape or incest – to wait 48 hours before receiving the procedure, to require patients to make two doctor visits and to receive politically scripted informed consent language used to demean and shame women into changing their minds. Women already receive extensive support, counseling, and information.
Activists will deliver over 1,000 letters from Tennesseans against this bill to Haslam’s office on Monday, May 11th at 12:40pm. Planned Parenthood supporters and representatives will be available for press interviews.
Medical experts like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose forced delays because they restrict access to safe, legal abortion—in particular, for low-income women and those living in rural areas, sometimes forcing women to schedule travel, time off work and child care over the course of multiple days.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), abortion has more than a ninety-nine percent safety record, making it one of the safest medical procedures a woman can receive.
“We all want women to have the information and support they need to make a carefully considered decision about a pregnancy. Planned Parenthood provides every woman with counseling, support and information about all of her options,” said Ashley Coffield, president of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region. “This bill would force abortions later in pregnancy for political--and not medical--reasons. While abortion is an extremely safe procedure, it’s safer the earlier it’s provided.”
This legislation passed over the objections of Tennesseans, who have been gathering in the Capitol for weeks to protest restrictions on safe, legal abortion. Opponents of the bills held 75 in-person meetings with legislators and delivered important research-based information to all 132 state elected officials. Planned Parenthood supporters made over 5,000 calls and sent thousands of emails in opposition to these dangerous bills.
“Tennesseans support a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions about abortion and have been at the Capitol for months to argue against this unnecessary restriction. This bill is not about making abortion safer. It is about making it more difficult for women to access safe, legal abortion,” said Jeff Teague, president of Planned Parenthood Middle and East Tennessee. “Sadly, this bill is disproportionally burdensome on women who already have the least access to care. It will force abortions later in pregnancy and might make it impossible for some women to access safe, legal abortion at all.”
"This bill will delay and block access to health care. It has no basis in medicine and is yet another cynical attempt by politicians to insert politics into women's personal medical decisions as part of a broader effort to ban safe, legal abortion," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
The legislation is particularly cruel for women and families in heartbreaking situations — needing to end a pregnancy after careful consideration, but experiencing delays of a week or more in accessing safe care. “My husband and I underwent six rounds of assisted fertility before we learned we were pregnant again. At our 19-week ultrasound, we learned the fetus had three heart defects, any one of which was incompatible with life outside the womb. This was an extremely difficult decision for my husband and I. The decision to terminate the pregnancy was made as it ultimately caused the least distress for the fetus. I do not want other women who face the same type of decision to have needless obstacles in place to make a difficult decision even harder,” said LaQuita Martin of Nashville.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 42 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.
Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee (PPMET) is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPMET’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 76 counties in Middle and East Tennessee and 39 counties in Southeastern and Western Kentucky.