Tennessee Attorney General asks to speed up heartbeat bill for abortions

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Posted at 3:08 PM, Jun 24, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Upon the Supreme Court of the United States overturning Roe v. Wade, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery turned around and asked the appeals court to lift an injunction on the state's heartbeat bill for abortions.

Slatery said he wanted the bill to go into law as soon as possible, which would make abortions illegal as soon as a heartbeat is detected. He said in 30 days, the 2019 Human Life Protection Act would go into effect in Tennessee. The overturn came in the face of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

“To state the obvious, Dobbs is a momentous decision, you know our republic is founded on the rule of law, and we accord respect to the supremacy clause, to the rulings of U.S. Supreme Court," Slatery said. "When they are issues that agree with the laws of the state of Tennessee, which largely is the case in this instance, but we also follow the rule of law when it's not. I was here in 2015 basically saying the same thing about the Obergefell decision. Those decisions did not agree with the view of most Tennesseans and the statutes that we had in place. But in both those instances and this instance, the Supreme Court has ruled and we are a republic founded on the rule of law and we respect that."

It's not clear when exactly the Sixth Court of Appeals will rule on Slatery's request for an injunction related to the heartbeat bill. But Slatery commended the court's decision. Previously, the Tennessee Constitution was amended to remove the right to an abortion.

"After nearly 50 years, this decision sends it back down to the state, to the people of Tennessee to decide this issue, where it should be in my opinion," Slatery said. "This is an issue of the court called a profound moral issue and the policy issues and discussions are best served at the state level and that’s where it will be."