Tennessee Senate kills bill to make Bible the Official State book, but passes anti-abortion legislation

April 16, 2015 • 2:55 pm

Well cut off my legs and call me Shorty: the Tennessee Senate has resoundingly defeated, by a vote of 22-9, the Bible-as-State-Book bill that was passed by an substantial majority in the House yesterday (55-38). This time, though, the bill was defeated—or rather, sent back to committee—with the help of Republicans. I think even those dimwits finally realized that a). it would make the state look really dumb, and b). the bill was unconstitutional and would have embroiled Tennessee in an expensive legal battle, which they’d ultimately lose. Even a blind pig can find its swill.

The victory isn’t unalloyed, though, for, according The Tennessean, the committee is going to work on it more. Like the Laearnian Hydra, its head will rise again; as the paper notes, “Referring the bill to committee allows supporters to pick up the campaign against next year. Norris [the Senate majority leader] suspects they will.”

Unfortunately, vindicating my prediction that Tennessee Republicans can get up to mischief on many fronts at once, the state senate also passed a bill on Wednesday mandating a 48-hour waiting period for abortions. This is likely to pass the House, and Governor Bill Haslam appears to approve. The stipulations:

One measure, introduced by Sen. Mae Beavers, a Republican from Mt. Juliet, would require women seeking an abortion to wait 48 hours after receiving in-person counseling by a physician before she could seek an abortion.

The bill specifies the information the physician performing the abortion must provide to a woman, including:

• Confirmation of pregnancy and approximate gestational age of the fetus

• The availability of numerous public and private agencies available to assist her if she chooses not to have an abortion

• The risks of pregnancy and abortion

• If a woman is more than 24 weeks pregnant, the physician must inform a woman that her fetus may be viable and if a viable child is born during the course of an abortion, the physician has a legal obligation to take steps to preserve the health of the child — although there are no abortion clinics in Tennessee that provide abortions past 16 weeks of gestation.

But wait! There’s more! With that bill you get still more restrictions!

A second measure approved with no debate on Wednesday — introduced by Sen. Joey Hensley, a Republican from Hohenwald — would require any facility or doctor’s office performing more than 50 abortions annually to be regulated as an ambulatory surgical treatment center, a designation that comes with specific requirements about the physical building that some abortion providers may not be able to meet.

Four abortion providers meet those standards. They include one clinic in Nashville, two in Memphis and one in Knoxville. A fifth abortion provider that met the standards closed in 2012 after lawmakers passed a requirement that physicians performing abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Three abortion providers that are not registered as ambulatory surgical treatment centers include The Women’s Center in Nashville and clinics in Bristol and Knoxville.

This, of course, is just another way to limit abortion.  All I can say is that Tennessee gets the legislators it deserves. After all, they won via the democratic process.


24 thoughts on “Tennessee Senate kills bill to make Bible the Official State book, but passes anti-abortion legislation

  1. More proof that the South’s governing bodies have been hijacked by religious fundamentalist hacks.
    I think the abortion restrictions are far worse than the b*ble becoming their state book.

  2. There’s no doubt what the abortion rules are for. The 48-hour rule is specifically aimed at poor out-of-state women who come to Tennessee for an abortion. Having to find a place to stay for two days puts financial hardship on them. They’re mostly coming from Mississippi, which used the ambulatory surgical center restriction and doctors’ admitting privileges to shut down all but one of that state’s clinics.

  3. The abortion topic really frosts me…If men were the ones getting pregnant the bible would be out the window and abortions would be as easy as owning a gun…

    1. Yup. Here’s hoping the next appointed SCOTUS judge will be a little more progressive where it comes to women’s reproductive rights.

    2. I’m not so sure. The reasons for anti abortion beliefs seem to run a little deeper than that.
      Absurd religious conviction should be taken seriously. Although there are some secular proponents of anti abortion.
      I don’t think the reasoning is that simple. It is a genuine concern for the foetus. . and or what god wants.

      I disagree completely with their reasoning and am as pro choice as is possible to be, but don’t underestimate the truth of the truly absurd nature of some believers beliefs

      Also, it is quite difficult to get a gun here.

      1. If you have trouble getting a gun, you must not be in the U.S.

        I’ve never seen religious beliefs get in the way of what people really want. Usually they twist the tenets to fit their desires. So I’m sure abortion would be rationalized suitably, if men were the pregnant ones.

  4. ‘…the state senate also passed a bill on Wednesday mandating a 48-hour waiting period for abortions.’

    The Volunteer State Lege is just dead set, one way or the other, on getting its ass handed to it in federal court, ain’t it?

  5. First, there is no need to be so hard on the blind pigs. I say that on behalf of blind pigs everywhere.

    I’m sure they already have a bible in every hotel room in the state. And it makes about as much sense as a screen door in a submarine.

    Senator Mae Beavers introduces a bill on abortion. I have nothing to say.

  6. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Republicans to have a mandated 48-hour waiting period for sex? Think of all the saved sperm!

    Republicans are so excited about the history of a (fertilized) egg, but that is just 1 cell vs 100s of millions. Conservative/religious ‘common sense’ and all that …

    1. Oh, and counseling! They definitely need to mandate counseling before sex. Who knows, else people may opt for sex without considering the consequences…

    2. Don’t tempt them. Texas still has anti-sodomy laws on the books. I’m sure the right wing types would love to outlaw sex for all but procreational purposes, for which a 48 hour waiting period would just be in keeping with the rhythm method.

    3. ‘…a mandated 48-hour waiting period for sex..”

      Seems a long wait-time since, these guys get their way, the only sex permitted will be a quick man-on-top hump in the missionary position, for procreative purposes only.

      Everything else will be classified “felony sodomy.”

    1. Then she must belong to the wrong religion. If she belonged to the correct religion, she wouldn’t be fornicating out of wedlock to begin with and wouldn’t need an abortion.


  7. Even by a pre-1960s very conservative interpretation of the First amendment, making the Bible the state book is deeply problematic.

    Conservative jurists have generally held that the government can promote generic religiosity as long as it doesn’t promote any particular religion.
    By this interpretation “In God we trust” on money is legal, but even there I suspect Roy Moore’s 10 Commandments monument in the courthouse and declaring the Bible a state book is not.

    1. Roy’s granite monstrosity, it long gone. Took the federal court in Alabama less time to decide that case than it did the clerk to stamp the ACLU’s moving papers “Received.” Alabama Judicial Commission tossed Roy’s ass outta office, too.

      Problem is, the dumbf*ck Alabama electorate voted him back in. Ain’t that some shit?

  8. What we need is one or more liberal one-percenters to fund those abortion clinics as a public service. (Plus, I love the that they could be set up as not-for-profits and thus subsidized by the tax paying bigoted.)

    If I had the wealth, I would do that,

    1. A 1 peecentee funded free IUDs for teens in a US state, and after 5 years or something, the teen birth rate dramatically plummeted. The state was given the opportunity to take over the funding for the program, or let it die. I believe that it died because a pro life republican had sad feelies about all of the precious “unborn babies” that these IUDs would be killing. So, hello high teen birth rate + higher abortion rate.

  9. “All I can say is that Tennessee gets the legislators it deserves.”

    But do Tennesseean women deserve them?

    1. The fault does indeed lie with the electorate of both sexes, who mostly didn’t bother to vote, and those that did elected these superstitious ignoramuses. The abortion bill was proposed by a woman, Mae Beavers.

      The people of Tennessee deserve all the ridicule that comes their way. I can say this because I am residing among them, to my increasing consternation.

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