NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Standing at the podium, Tennessee Right to Life president Stacy Dunn smiled.
With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, she said this was a day she and others had been waiting on for years.
"We are thrilled. This is a great day. We have great reason to celebrate," she said. "The Supreme Court of the United States has made a monumental decision that will save the lives of millions of unborn children."
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery already asked the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift its current injunction of the six-week abortion ban — known as the heartbeat bill, which passed the Tennessee legislature in 2020. A decision hasn't yet been rendered. 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.
"Legislators knew then to prepare for this day," Dunn said. "The law says that when Roe v. Wade was overturned, that 1973 laws would make abortion illegal except to save the life of the mother. We applaud the court's decision. This decision means the citizens of the Volunteer State will offer protection for the most vulnerable citizens among us. Everyone deserves the right to be born. We are grateful to God. We have passed some of the most protective measures in Tennessee. It has always been a desire of Tennessee Right to Life that we would protect unborn children and their mothers. We have worked through the confines of Roe v. Wade."
Moving forward, the group's leaders said they will work to elect pro-life candidates to keep Tennessee's laws on abortion codified.
"Abortion doesn't help women," Dunn said. "Tennessee and other states can start following the truth. We will no longer allow the abortion industry to pit a mother against a child. The truth is powerful. The truth saves lives. We will work to elect pro-life men and women to make sure our protections remain in place. We cannot allow an overturn to happen. We will work to protect women and girls from out-of-state marketing efforts to lure women and their money."
They said it’s logical to prosecute medical professionals who perform abortions. ‘Women deserve better than abortion.’ As for what’s next— they said they will work to keep pro-life lawmakers in the TN legislature @nc5 pic.twitter.com/Yvuxm7etRf— Alexandra Koehn (@NC5_AKoehn) June 24, 2022
"We are grateful to God, all glory belongs to him, and we are also thankful to pro-life voters who for years have sent pro-life super majorities to the state house and state senate," Dunn said.
In addition, Catholic Bishops in Tennessee thanked the Supreme Court for their decision. At Catholic Charities, Judy Orr said they have an adoption program that will likely need more funding for staffing.
"We would need more people to help with the higher demand for our services, and we’ve always been open and willing to any kind of program that would come along and be funded by that," Orr said.
In addition, it's possible there will be a need for more foster parents. This comes at a time when there's a shortage of case managers and parents willing to take on children in Tennessee. Republican state lawmakers have said they're working on getting more funding funneled into the foster program.
The Family Action Council of Tennessee issued a statement:
"The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is not just great news for those in the pro-life community who believe Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, but for all who know the Court has exceeded its powers by inventing rights that neither the people nor the states ever approved.
Roe was a demonstrable usurpation of power and the destruction of representative government, the very foundation for civil liberty. It is time this judicial and constitutional monstrosity be buried along with the human holocaust of death it unleashed."