Tennessee's abortion 'trigger law' set to take effect August 25

Posted at 3:28 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 06:53:58-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee's abortion "trigger law" now appears set to take effect on August 25.

The effective date would come more than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed its decision in Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions.

Three years ago, Tennessee lawmakers passed the trigger law to almost entirely bans abortions in the state if the Supreme Court ever overturned the landmark abortion case.

The specific date that Tennessee's law would go into effect was not clear until the U.S. Supreme Court completed a final procedural move Tuesday afternoon, despite previously announcing its decision on June 24.

Tennessee's trigger law states it will go into effect 30 days after the "issuance of the judgment" from the Supreme Court overturning Roe.

The Attorney General's office says that happens when the Supreme Court sends a copy of its judgment to the lower court — something that took place just Tuesday afternoon.

Other cases have taken a similar amount of time for the Supreme Court to issue a final judgment after first announcing its decision.

According to the trigger law, the Attorney General's office must now notify the Tennessee Code Commission — a collection of judges, attorneys and other state officials responsible for publishing the state's laws — about the issued judgment. The Attorney General would also identify for the commission the day the law will go into effect, 30 days after the issuance of the judgment, which appears to be August 25.

Tennessee already has a six-week abortion ban in place, allowed to go into effect following a ruling of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which came after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The state's trigger law would almost entirely close the window for abortions in Tennessee, with no exceptions for rape or incest and only a narrow exception to protect the life of the mother, or to prevent serious risk of "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."