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VOL. 123 | NO. 26 | Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bill Requiring Informed Consent Prior to an Abortion Delayed

By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II | Associated Press Writer

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NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would require informed consent before an abortion has been delayed to allow senators a chance to see how the House acts on the measure.

The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-4 on Tuesday to delay until April 16 the measure sponsored by Sen. Roy Herron.

The Dresden Democrat's bill would also require a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion to allow the woman time to review information that discusses consequences of such a procedure.

Herron believes delaying the bill puts it at greater risk of not passing and says it's needed to cut down on the number of abortions in Tennessee.

"Each year it could save a thousand abortions in Tennessee according to studies I've seen," he said.

Some Republicans who voted for the delay said they would like to see if the House moves the measure forward. Right now the companion version is stuck in a committee.

Others said they would like to see what happens with an abortion resolution that passed the Senate last month.

The measure, which would change the state's constitution to allow more limits on abortion, seeks to nullify a state Supreme Court ruling that the Tennessee Constitution offers greater protection for abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution.

The 2000 ruling threw out state laws that required a 48-hour waiting period before abortions, that abortion clinics must provide detailed information about the procedure and that all but first-term abortions be performed in hospitals.

However, the resolution's chances of passing in the House are uncertain because the measure has repeatedly failed in a House subcommittee.

If it were to eventually pass both chambers this session and gain two-thirds approval by lawmakers during the next two-year General Assembly, the proposed change would go before voters in the 2010 election.

"I think SJR127 (the resolution) should have a chance to move forward," said Sen. Diane Black, a Gallatin Republican and sponsor of the resolution.

However, Herron said 2010 is too long to wait.

"My legislation could reduce the number of abortions as soon as the General Assembly moves it forward," he said.

Read the full text of SB3512 at on the Legislature's Web site at: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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