A controversial bill placing tighter restrictions on abortions in Tennessee moved forward on Wednesday while debate over another similar bill was pushed back until 2018.
The "Tennessee Infants Protection Act" would make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion after 20 weeks into her pregnancy if it's determined her fetus is 'viable.' The bill would make an exception in the case of a medical emergency.
Republican Representative Matthew Hill sponsored the bill and on Wednesday defended the legislation in front of critics, many of whom were women who packed into a sub committee hearing room at Legislative Plaza. Dozens of women were at the Capitol on Wednesday to participate in "Planned Parenthood Day."
"The 20th week is recognized as when viability scientifically occurs," Hill told committee members as protesters in the hallway could loudly be heard cheering "no," in response to Hill.
"We're about protecting the constitutional right of women," Democrat John Ray Clemmons from Nashville said as the bill was debated.
Democrats though did not have the numbers to defeat the bill and the "Tennessee Infants Protection Act," successfully moved to a full committee hearing.
A similar measure which would make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected was delayed until 2018.