Tennessee is on the fast track to becoming the 27th state to require a waiting period before an abortion so women have more time to reflect on information they received during counseling, the development of their baby, and alternatives to abortion.
House lawmakers passed the pro-life bill Tuesday morning, as well as a measure that would require clinics to be licensed as surgical centers. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to sign both bills when they reach his desk.
The measures follow a Tennessee amendment approved by voters in November that allows the state General Assembly to change abortion policies for the first time since the state Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions in 2000.
The state House of Representatives voted 81-17 to require any clinic that performs 50 or more abortions a year to be licensed and inspected as any other ambulatory surgical treatment center.
Representatives also voted 79-18 to require women to undergo counseling and wait 48 hours before having an abortion except in the case of a medical emergency. The bill requires a concurring vote in the state Senate before it is sent to Haslam.
“Tennessee Right to Life thanks the people of Tennessee who supported Amendment 1 and the many legislative sponsors and supporters of these bills to protect the health and safety of women and girls,” said Brian Harris, the organization’s president, Life News reported. “Children will now be given a better chance at life because their mothers and families had the extra time and opportunity to make fully informed decisions.”