Press Release from Tennessee Right to Life, May 5, 2010:
Without comment, Governor Bredesen has refused to sign legislation barring abortion as a funded benefit in new federally mandated health care exchanges. Still, since no veto was issued, the protective policy takes effect immediately. Tennessee law allows the Governor to sign a bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.
HB 2681 / SB 2686 by pro-life Rep. Matthew Hill and pro-life Sen. Diane Black states:
No health care plan required to be established in this state through an exchange pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th Congress shall offer coverage for abortion services.
It passed the state House 70-23 and the state Senate 27-3.
Tennessee’s General Assembly was the nation’s first to pass legislation making clear that abortion would not be included as a benefit in federally required health care exchanges. Action was delayed until today as Governor Bredesen refused to sign the bill into law. In the interim, Arizona’s Legislature passed similar legislation which was quickly signed into law by their pro-life Governor Jan Brewer, making Arizona the first state to opt out of the abortion-funding mandates.
Tennessee Right to Life has praised legislators for their work this session to protect human life, particularly leadership of both the state House and state Senate.
“Pro-life citizens around the state are grateful to our new House Speaker, Kent Williams, for making the protection of life a priority, just as he said he would,” commented Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. “And without the principled counsel and long time leadership of Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, this session’s victories for life would never have been realized,” Harris continued.
Passage of the ‘abortion opt out’ bill follows easy passage this session of bills removing priority status from abortion-provider Planned Parenthood, redirecting family planning funds to local health departments which do not perform abortions, required posting of the state’s non-coercion policy in private offices and facilities which perform abortions, and first passage of SJR 127, a resolution requiring a public vote in 2014 to make the Tennessee Constitution neutral once again on the matter of abortion.