Tennessee bill to ban abortions at 20 weeks passes in Senate

Standing in front of the state capitol building, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen delivers his inaugural address from the podium after being sworn into office for a second term at War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007. (AP Photo/Jeff Adkins)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Senate has voted to pass a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks if doctors determine the fetus is viable.

The ban would not apply in medical emergencies or if the mother faces risks of death or serious damage to a major bodily function.

The Tennessee attorney general’s office has said that it would defend the measure if it were to become law, despite previously calling the legislation “constitutionally suspect.”

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Joey Hensley, a Republican from Hohenwald who is also a physician, would make it a felony for doctors to violate the law.

Some Democrats had argued that the bill would affect people with high-risk pregnancies and the legislature ought to stay out of those decisions.

Republican supporters said it protects innocent life.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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