Tennessee Informed Consent Bill (SB 13)
This law was last updated on Nov 19, 2018
SB 13 would require that, prior to receiving an abortion, each pregnant woman seeking an abortion be orally informed by her attending physician of the following and sign a consent form acknowledging that she has been informed by her attending physician of the following:
- That according to the best judgment of her attending physician, she is pregnant;
- The number of weeks that have elapsed since the probable time of conception;
- That if more than 24 weeks have passed since conception, her child may be capable of surviving outside of the womb, and that if the child is prematurely born alive in the course of an abortion, her attending physician has a legal obligation to take steps to preserve the life and health of the child;
- That abortion in a considerable number of cases constitutes a major surgical procedure;
- That numerous public and private agencies and services are available to assist the woman during her pregnancy and after the birth of her child, if she chooses not to have the abortion, whether she wishes to keep the child or place the child for adoption, and that her physician will provide her with a list of the agencies and the services available if she so requests; and
- That numerous benefits and risks are attendant either to continued pregnancy and childbirth or to abortion depending upon the circumstances in which the patient might find herself. The physician shall explain these benefits and risks to the best of the physician’s ability and knowledge of the circumstances involved.
This bill would require that, at the same time the physician delivers the above information, the physician must inform the woman of the particular risks associated with her pregnancy and childbirth and the abortion or child delivery technique to be employed, including providing her with at least a general description of the medical instructions to be followed subsequent to the abortion or childbirth in order to ensure her safe recovery.
SB 13 would revive and reenact the physician-only informed consent requirement for abortion that was in effect prior to the 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court decision of Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist. In that case the court opined that the physician-only portion of the statute violated the Tennessee Constitution and the entire statute was, therefore, unenforceable. In November 2014, the voters of Tennessee passed a constitutional amendment specifying that nothing in the Tennessee Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion.