Tennessee lawmakers proposed a bill this week that would allow biological fathers to prevent abortions.
The bill, introduced by Republican state Sen. Mark Pody, would allow the father to “petition a court with jurisdiction over domestic relations matters to request an injunction to prohibit a woman who is pregnant with the person’s unborn child from obtaining an abortion.”
It passed on second consideration last Thursday and will now move to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Republican House Rep. Jerry Sexton introduced the same bill last Wednesday and it passed first consideration the next day.
An injunction would be granted to the father only if there were evidence that the woman was actively considering an abortion and if there were evidence that the man was the father. However, the bill does not require DNA evidence.
Once the court grants the injunction, a hearing with both parties must be held within 14 days.
If a woman violates the injunction and gets an abortion, “the court may hold the respondent in civil or criminal contempt and punish the respondent in accordance with the law,” the bill states.
If the bills pass and are signed into law by the governor, they would take effect on July 1. There is a good chance the bill succeeds, since Tennessee has passed similarly strict abortion restrictions recently.
Last summer, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill into law that banned abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
The law also prohibited abortions if a doctor is aware the decision is motivated by the race or sex of the baby, or a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
A federal court blocked the bill soon afterward, but Lee praised it as “the most conservative, pro-life” piece of legislation in the country.
“Life is precious and everything that is precious is worth protecting; we know that in Tennessee,” he said at the time.