Proposed Tennessee Bill Would Give Fathers Veto Power Over Abortion if Paternity is Established

In an effort to further restrict abortion in Tennessee, two Tennessee lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow a father to deny an abortion without the pregnant woman’s consent.

SB494/HB1079, sponsored by Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon and Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, would give a man who gets a woman pregnant the veto power to an abortion by petitioning a court for an injunction against the procedure.

Tennessee lawmakers already passed one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws last year, although much of it is held up with legal challenges from abortion rights advocates. The ongoing court battle could stretch for months if not years.

Despite the outlook for potential lawsuits, state lawmakers appear adamant in pushing for stricter abortion laws this legislative session. Including Pody and Sexton’s legislation, six bills to further restrict abortion have been filed this year.

Pody said Wednesday he introduced his bill after a Tennessee resident expressed concerns that fathers do not have a say over abortion under the current law. He said his bill would assure fathers’ right to make a decision about an unborn child.

“I believe a father should have a right to say what’s gonna be happening to that child,” Pody said. “And if somebody is going to kill that child, he should be able to say, ‘No, I don’t want that child to be killed. I want to able to raise that child and love that child.'”

But the bill language has drawn criticism from abortion rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and the state’s Planned Parenthood chapter.

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SOURCE: Nashville Tennessean, Yue Stella Yu

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