NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee House has advanced legislation prohibiting the state from funding health care facilities that offer abortion with state tax dollars because support of abortion is tied to "secular humanism."
House members advanced the bill on Monday after a brief but tense debate between Democratic lawmakers with the Republican sponsor over the appropriateness of the proposal.
GOP Rep. John Ragan says the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized "secular humanism" as a religion and that means the state shouldn't fund organizations supporting those principles. According to Ragan, believing abortion is not "immoral" is a key tenant of secular humanism.
However, the bill also states that it can only be implemented if a federal court allows a state agency to deny family planning funds to an organization that performs abortions.