Tennessee Infants Protection Act (SB 1180)
This law was last updated on Jul 7, 2017
SB 1180 would prohibit a person from purposely performing or inducing, or attempting to perform or induce, an abortion upon a pregnant patient when the fetus is viable.
The bill provides that it would be an affirmative defense to any criminal prosecution that the abortion was performed or induced, or attempted to be performed or induced, by a licensed physician and that the physician determined, in the physician’s good faith medical judgment, based upon the facts known to the physician at the time, that either:
- the fetus was not viable; or
- the procedure was necessary prevent the death of the pregnant patient or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant patient.
The bill state that except for cases of medical emergency, affirmative defense would not apply unless the physician makes a viability determination and certifies in writing that the fetus was not viable or that the procedure was necessary due to a serious risk.
Additionally, except in cases of medical emergency, affirmative defense would not apply unless the physician complies with each of the following conditions:
- The physician certifies in writing that the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant patient or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant patient;
- A second physician, who is not professionally related to the physician, certifies in writing on the necessity of the procedure;
- The physician performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce, the abortion in a hospital or other health-care facility that has appropriate neonatal services for premature infants;
- The physician who performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce, the abortion terminates or attempts to terminate the pregnancy in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive, unless it would pose a significantly greater risk to the pregnant patient;
- The physician certifies in writing the available methods or techniques considered and the reasons for choosing the method or technique employed; and
- A second physician is on hand to take control of, provide immediate medical care for, and take all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the life and health of the “unborn child” immediately upon the child’s complete expulsion or extraction from the pregnant patient.
The bill states there shall be a rebuttable presumption that an “unborn child” of at least 24 weeks is viable.
Any person who violates this provision would be committing a Class C felony. Additionally, a physician who violates this provision may have their medical license revoked.
20 Week Testing of Viability
Except in cases of medical emergency, the bill would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing, or attempting to perform or induce, an abortion upon a pregnant patient after the beginning of the 20th week of pregnancy, as measured by gestational age, unless, prior to the performance or inducement of the abortion, or the attempt to perform or induce the abortion, the physician determines that the fetus is not viable.
The physician would make such a determination after performing a medical examination of the pregnant patient and “after assessing gestational age, weight, bi-parietal diameter, or other factors that a reasonable physician, in making a determination as to whether an unborn child is viable, would consider.”
A person who violates this provision would be committing a Class A misdemeanor. Additionally, a physician who violates this provision may have their medical license suspended for at least six months.
If passed, the law would take effect on July 1, 2017.
Companion bill to HB 1189.
Passed the senate on May 1, 2017, by a vote of 27-3.
Passed the house on May 3, 2017, by a vote of 69-18.
Signed by Gov. Bill Haslam (R) on May 12, 2017.