Tennessee passes sweeping restrictions on abortion

Tennessee passed sweeping legislation Friday seeking to place restrictions on abortion, becoming the latest state to try to curtail access to the procedure.

The bill, which passed 23-5 in the state Senate, was one of several pieces of legislation that had been put on pause during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was boosted by new momentum after negotiations between the two legislative chambers.

Among other things, the legislation bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which could take place early as six weeks and if the procedure is taking place because of the fetus’s race or sex or if there has been a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. It also bans abortions for minors in custody of the Department of Children’s Services and scraps the current option to petition a judge for permission for the procedure.

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