Sheila Butt, a Republican state lawmaker from Maury County, told TNReport this week that she’s undecided as to whether she will support a proposal by fellow GOP Rep. Rick Womick to mandate that women seeking abortions be required to view the fetus on an ultrasound display. Butt, who on Dec. 10 was elected floor leader by the House GOP for the 2015-16 legislative session, is often outspoken in her anti-abortion views.
Likewise, Bobbie Patray of the socially conservative Tennessee Eagle Forum says her group is keeping their distance from Womick’s bill for now.
On Dec. 11, Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the speaker of the Tennessee Senate, said he does not support the ultrasound bill. “I don’t want to do that,” Ramsey told reporters. “I mean, I campaigned and told people there were three things that we wanted to basically put us back where we were before the year 2000.”
In November, voters in Tennessee passed Amendment 1, a measure declaring that women in the state have no “right” to an abortion and expanding the power of government to regulate when, where and how abortions can be performed. The vote tally on Amendment 1 was 53 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed. Opponents of Amendment 1 are challenging the measure in federal court.