Tenn. Code § 39-15-217

Current through 2021-2022, ch. 1146
Section 39-15-217 - Section definitions - Unlawful abortions due to sex, race, or indication of Down syndrome - Affirmative defense of medical emergency - Violations - Report to board of medical examiners - Severability - Intent
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Abortion" has the same meaning as defined in § 39-15-211;
(2) "Down syndrome" means a chromosome disorder associated either with an extra chromosome twenty-one or an effective trisomy for chromosome twenty-one;
(3) "Medical emergency" has the same meaning as defined in § 39-15-211; provided, that it does not include a claim or diagnosis related to the woman's mental health or a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which would result in her death or substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function; and
(4) "Unborn child" has the same meaning as defined in § 39-15-211.
(b) A person shall not perform or induce, or attempt to perform or induce, an abortion upon a pregnant woman if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion because of the sex of the unborn child.
(c) A person shall not perform or induce, or attempt to perform or induce, an abortion upon a pregnant woman if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion because of the race of the unborn child.
(d) A person shall not perform or induce, or attempt to perform or induce, an abortion upon a pregnant woman if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down syndrome or the potential for Down syndrome in the unborn child.
(e)
(1) Subject to compliance with subdivision (e)(2), it is an affirmative defense to criminal prosecution for a violation of a provision of this section that, in the physician's reasonable medical judgment, a medical emergency prevented compliance with the provision.
(2) In order for the affirmative defense in subdivision (e)(1) to apply, a physician who performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce, an abortion because of a medical emergency must comply with each of the following conditions unless the medical emergency also prevents compliance with the condition:
(A) The physician who performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce, the abortion certifies in writing that, in the physician's good faith, reasonable medical judgment, based upon the facts known to the physician at the time, compliance with the provision was prevented by a medical emergency;
(B) The physician certifies in writing the available methods or techniques considered and the reasons for choosing the method or technique employed;
(C) If the unborn child is presumed to be viable under § 39-15-211 or determined to be viable under § 39-15-212, the physician performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce, the abortion in a hospital. The hospital must have appropriate neonatal services for premature infants unless there is no hospital within thirty (30) miles with neonatal services and the physician who intends to perform or induce the abortion has admitting privileges at the hospital where the abortion is to be performed or induced;
(D) If the unborn child is presumed viable under § 39-15-211 or determined to be viable under § 39-15-212, the physician who performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce, the abortion terminates or attempts to terminate the pregnancy in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive, unless that physician determines, in the physician's good faith medical judgment, based upon the facts known to the physician at the time, that the termination of the pregnancy in that manner poses a significantly greater risk of the death of the pregnant woman or a significantly greater risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman than would other available methods of abortion; and
(E) If the unborn child is presumed viable under § 39-15-211 or determined to be viable under § 39-15-212, the physician who performs or induces, or attempts to perform or induce, the abortion has arranged for the attendance in the same room in which the abortion is to be performed or induced, or attempted to be performed or induced, at least one (1) other physician who is to take control of, provide immediate medical care for, and take all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the life and health of the unborn child immediately upon the child's complete expulsion or extraction from the pregnant woman.
(f) A violation of subsections (b)-(d) is a Class C felony.
(g) A pregnant woman upon whom an abortion is performed or induced, or attempted to be performed or induced, in violation of subsections (b)-(d), is not guilty of violating the subsections, or of attempting to commit or conspiring to commit a violation of the subsections.
(h) When a physician is criminally charged with a violation of this section, the physician shall report the charge to the board of medical examiners in writing within seven (7) calendar days of acquiring knowledge of the charge. The report must include the jurisdiction in which the charge is pending, if known, and must also be accompanied by a copy of the charging documents, if available. A district attorney general shall promptly notify the board of medical examiners when a physician is charged with a violation of this section.
(i) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person, circumstance, or period of gestational age is found to be unenforceable, unconstitutional, or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the same is hereby declared to be severable and the remainder of this section shall remain effective. The general assembly hereby declares that it would have enacted this section and each of its provisions, even if any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person, circumstance, or period of gestational age was later found to be unenforceable, unconstitutional, or invalid.
(j)
(1) It is the specific intent of the general assembly in this section to exercise to the greatest extent permitted by law the legitimate, substantial, and compelling state interest in protecting maternal health, and in preserving, promoting, and protecting life and potential life throughout pregnancy by enacting more protective requirements than provided for under this part as it existed prior to July 13, 2020.
(2) When this section is in direct conflict with this part as it existed prior to July 13, 2020, the more protective requirements of this section control over any less protective provision in this part. This section shall not be construed as a repeal, either express or implied, of any provision of this part as it existed prior to July 13, 2020.
(3) The general assembly specifically intends that this part as it existed prior to July 13, 2020, shall remain and be enforceable if, and for so long as, any provisions of this section, or any part or parts thereof, are enjoined or otherwise barred by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(4) This section does not repeal or modify in any way § 39-15-213, as enacted by chapter 351 of the Public Acts of 2019, which shall control upon becoming effective. This section shall remain and be enforceable if, and for so long as, any provisions of § 39-15-213, or any part or parts thereof, are enjoined or otherwise barred by a court of competent jurisdiction.

T.C.A. § 39-15-217

Added by 2020 Tenn. Acts, ch. 764,s 2, eff. 7/13/2020.