Monday, February 20, 2006

Proposed Abortion Legislation in Tennessee

House Bill 3199 and its companion Senate Bill 3402 were introduced on 2/16. The text of the bill states: "it is an offense for a physician to knowingly perform an abortion on a woman who is eighteen (18) years of age or older unless the physician has received from the woman a signed statement indicating that the woman has notified the man by whom she is pregnant that she intends to have an abortion."

The bill provides exceptions if the woman signs a statement saying the pregnancy is a result of rape and has been reported to law enforcement, is unable "after diligent effort" to notify or identify the man (in which case she must file written notice with the Department of Children's Services to be placed on the department's putative father registry), and in the case of medical emergencies when the life of the woman is at risk. Penalties are a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine for the physician and a $2,000 fine for the woman.

What is not made clear in the proposed legislation is how it will be enforced and monitored. Will physicians contact men listed on women's statements to verify that they have been notified? If so, how does this square with patient privacy laws? Why are there no exceptions for women who are being abused, or who may have been examined by a medical professional in the case of a rape which may not have been reported to law enforcement? What constitutes a "diligent effort," and how will such effort be verified? Will the Dept of Children's Services essentially keep a list of women who have had abortions, and could that affect them in future custody or other legal actions? According to TN code (36-2-318), the Putative (presumed) Father Registry was established primarily to deal with parentage records relevant to adoption procedures and termination of parental rights. How will the following section apply?
"Those persons contained on the registry shall be given notice by the petitioners in proceedings for the adoption of a child or for the termination of parental rights involving a child, and they shall be necessary parties to the proceedings, and, except as they may waive their rights under subsection (f), must have their parental rights to the child terminated prior to entry of an adoption order, as may be required pursuant to chapter 1, part 1, of this title, unless they have executed a surrender, waiver of interest, or parental consent as provided in chapter 1, part 1 of this title."
Although the proposed law requires 24-hour notice, could this portion be used for additional delays?
A person listed on the registry and entitled to notice of pending adoption or termination proceedings under subdivision (e)(3) shall have thirty (30) days from the receipt of such notice to file a complaint for parentage or to intervene in the adoption proceedings or termination of parental rights proceedings for the purpose of establishing a claim to parentage of the child or to present a defense to the termination or adoption case.
These questions would all seemingly need to be answered with regards to the pending legislation. If you would like to leave a comment with or pose these questions of your legislator, you can find names and email addresses of TN Senate members here and House members here.

(Found via TV on the Fritz)

Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
MeSH Tags: Abortion, Induces/legislation and jurisprudence


Blogger Vol Abroad said...


11:57 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Yes, that is more than outrageous, thanks for the good reporting.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about time that the law recognize the rights of fathers.

Welcome to gender equity, ladies. Or that not what you truly wanted?

3:11 PM  
Blogger Marith said...

Wow Anonymous, way to post something moronic and cowardly at the same time. When will you be running for office?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

The "rights of fathers" is slightly irrelevant when they don't have to carry a fetus for 9 months. This is outrageous...

7:47 PM  
Anonymous KMTBerry said...

This is an interesting development. Wait. Really. I have been wondering lately how the fact that WE CAN NOW PROVE FATHERHOOD will affect the anti-choice Godbags. It used to be that the slut had to bear the baby AND the financial and social burden (or outcasting) ALONE, because, the male could always claim "It isn't mine". NOW, Junior can be proven culpable and liable, and just might have to drop out of college to get a shitty job to provide for his unwanted offspring (and possibly unwanted wife). When the male has to suffer equally with the female....(well if not equally, along with).....well it's going to be interesting to see how the patriarchy reacts to it.
Well that's one thing....and now THIS: Fatherhood rights. What is to stop a young lady from claiming her best male friend (not her inpregnator) is the father? Are they going to DNA test the foetus IN UTERO? I don't think that is possible without danger to the wee blastocyst. You could claim ANY male is the father....they can't PROVE anything until the foetus has been removed. Even then, are they going to test them? The whole issue is a MESS.
Regarding "anonymous": While I think that involving the "rights of fathers" is extremely problematic, to the point of being undesirable, I don't think it is out of line to bring it up. While this guy writes like an utter TROLL, the issue is not without merit.

3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this will open a legal can of worms that is endless. If he is not her husband and has no legal obligation to pay her bills then does she have the right to sue for support and all medical bills paid since he did not give consent? who will the doctor and hospital bill if she is forced to carry the child to term? When women do not want to tell who the father is all they have to do is say I don't know who he was. what do you do to enforce that?

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what they will do when a prostitute wants an abortion, or someone who has multiple partners and one won't agree but the other does? Since there is no way to tell til post birth both parents could not want a child and a third party in the form of other sexual partner could force them both! It is unworkable on every level.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous lexia said...

Place Tennessee on the boycott list, along with South Dakota. I'm going to. Amd every business or organization I refuse to visit or sponsor will know why. Not just including, but -especially- those liberal and/or greener organizations whose members figure murderous legislation that affects only women just aint their problem.

7:11 PM  

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