Ultrasound bills and political ambitions
State Sen. Jim Tracy is getting a lot of attention for a bill he filed that would require transabdominal ultrasounds before an abortion. Some people are wondering whether there’s another motive here.
As I’ve mentioned before, Tracy has announced his plans to challenge Congressman Scott DesJarlais in the Republican primary for the 4th Congressional District. As I’ve also mentioned a lot of times, DesJarlais has come under fire for a phone transcript that details him pressuring a pregnant mistress to get an abortion and also supporting his ex-wife’s two abortions. Democrats accusing Tracy of bringing the bill forward as a way to beef up his conservative credentials before the election.
Tracy denies this, of course. He says the bill has nothing to do with politics and he’s just trying to save a life.
Another question I have about the bill is about its feasibility given the TN Supreme Court’s decision that abortion is protected by the state Constitution. That ruling back in 2000 struck down laws on waiting periods, informed consent and requirements that second trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital. This ultrasound bill would appear to be something that wouldn’t hold water based on that ruling as well. Next year, Tennessee voters will go to the polls in November and decide whether or not they want to remove those protections from the Constitution, referred to in the legislature as SJR 127
I asked Tracy about that and he admitted it’s something they are looking at very closely. He says they don’t want to do anything that could potentially mess with that vote and they are consulting with legal experts about all of that.
But for now, the bill is out there. I imagine the questions will remain as this bill starts to progress through the legislature.