(Open Thread) The TNB Night Owl — Snark Attack: GOP Misadventures in Legislation

12 October Carp Tail (second version) Photo by Howard J.

Still working on the George Santos article. In the meantime, let’s talk about the GOP and some of their, ahem, *quote* legislation *unquote*.

Back in 2019, TN passed one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country, which took effect when SOTUS overturned Roe last summer. Our trigger law made all abortions illegal, with no exceptions. However, they did allow doctors who perform an abortion in order to save the life of a mother to offer an “affirmative defense,” which might prevent them from going to prison.

Once this became clear, many legislators who passed the original trigger law decided maybe they should offer up some sort of “clarification.” A slightly kinder and gentler anti-abortion law.

Thus enters Senate Bill 857 to offer that clarification. (The first link is to a .pdf which will allow you to read the bill for yourself.)

The gist is that some “medically necessary” abortions will be allowed under the new law, such as in the case of rape and incest. While that’s certainly an improvement, don’t get too excited just yet…

Here are some of the requirements victims must meet in order for their abortion to be legal:

1. Reporting the rape or incest offense to either law enforcement or a rape crisis center that made its own law enforcement report
2. Submitting to a forensic medical exam, if “appropriate and available”
3. Is no more than 10 weeks pregnant, if the pregnant patient is 12 or younger
4. Is no more than 8 weeks pregnant, if the patient is 13 or older

Tennessee Republicans back bills to add exceptions to abortion ban, February 1, 2023

Now, there’s also something more in the bill:

If a woman falsely reports a rape in order to obtain an abortion, that’s a Class C felony with a minimum sentence of 3 years, 100% of which must be served. Keep in mind, we don’t usually have minimum sentences in our code; the only exceptions are for extremely serious crimes, like murder and aggravated burglary. So… yeah.

Critics have expressed concerns that this will deter women from reporting rapes, because members of law enforcement often don’t believe rape victims as it is.

When asked by a member of the press about this, this was the reaction from Rep. Iris Rudder:

All this and more has me seriously considering moving out of state…

Have a great time in the comments down below and I’ll see you tomorrow for something else.

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