Tennessee rep bucks AG, says abortion bill is constitutional

Friday, April 7, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 14

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee lawmaker is questioning the attorney general for describing parts of his abortion ban bill as "constitutionally suspect."

Despite contending his bill is constitutional Wednesday, Republican Rep. Matthew Hill delayed the legislation a week until members can read the opinion and hear from the attorney general's office.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks if a doctor determines the fetus is viable.

Exceptions exist for mothers who would otherwise die or be severely hurt. Criminal penalties could be included for doctors.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery's opinion says the bill impermissibly subjects doctors to criminal liability while working in good faith to determine what's medically necessary.

It says another constitutional issue is failing to account for severe mental and emotional harm when considering if an abortion is medically necessary.