Tennessee Attorney General Moves Swiftly to Restrict Women’s Rights

Herb Slatery wastes little time in announcing disdain for women

Andy Spears


Photo by Brandon Jean on Unsplash

Almost immediately following the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case that overturns Roe v. Wade and eliminates a federal protection for a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery noted his office would move quickly to enact Tennessee’s near-total ban on abortion.

A series of state laws have been passed in recent years that, taken together, make abortion illegal in the state. Those laws have been held at bay by Roe v. Wade.

Until today.

The Daily Memphian reports on Slatery’s swift movement to curtail the rights of women in Tennessee:

A near-total ban on abortions will take effect in Tennessee in 30 days under a 2019 trigger law, but a six-week “heartbeat bill” could take effect sooner and be in place until the trigger law supersedes it.

The trigger law bans nearly all abortions, with narrow exceptions for when the mother’s life is in danger.

“A person who performs or attempts to perform an abortion commits the offense of criminal abortion,” the law states. “Criminal abortion is a Class C felony.”

Class C felonies come with three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

There are no exceptions for rape, incest or mental illness. The law states the only exception is if “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

While Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee celebrated the decision, groups across Tennessee spoke out on the move, noting that the Supreme Court’s decision coupled with Slatery’s rapid push for enforcement of the state ban will put women’s lives and health at risk.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .