Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has joined a coalition of state attorneys general in opposing an interim law that would allow taxpayer-funded abortions and abortion counseling for adults and those who are blessed.
Skrmetti and 17 other attorneys general filed their amicus brief in the Western District of Texas in the case of Carter v. McDonough supports the plaintiff, Stephanie Carter, a veterans’ office nurse who opposes the new law.
Skrmetti’s action comes about six months after the state’s abortion ban was enacted in Tennessee in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. That decision came in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi and returned decisions about abortion access to the state legislature.
“In Dobbs, the Supreme Court recognized that abortion regulation is left up to the state,” Skrmetti said in a statement Wednesday. “Tennessee law reflects the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives. We will not allow federal agencies to undermine the legislative authority of the General Assembly.”
The amicus brief Skrmetti joined states in part, “These (state) laws strike a balance between competing interests and reflect the outcome of hard-fought democracy. Some interested parties have chosen to legalized abortion restrictions after Dobbs. Other states have retained or adopted abortion laws. All states have provisions in their abortion laws to protect the life of a woman.”
Lawmakers could be on the verge, however, of changing the state’s abortion “trigger law,” which was passed in 2019 with the understanding that it would be effective if repealed. by the supreme court Roe v. Wade.
At least one senator said he voted for the bill because he did not think it would reverse the court’s 1973 decision.
And two months ago, a handful of state senators said they plan to support legislation that would provide exceptions to the abortion law for cases of rape and incest. and to remove the system of “affirmative defense” that requires doctors to defend themselves in court if they have to perform an abortion in order to save the life of a mother who is involved in a stillborn pregnancy.
House Minority Leader Karen Camper of Memphis argued during floor debate four years ago that the law would “punish” doctors. The Republican administration voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill.
The Tennessee Medical Association is pushing for a change in the law this year to make it clear that doctors are not charged with a crime for saving a mother’s life. .
The Speaker of the House, Cameron Sexton, has also announced his support for a system to make interventions for rape and rape and to clarify the law of the state in saving the life and health of the mother.
Now they are attacking the freedom of soldiers to get the care they need. This amicus brief is distasteful to our veterans who put their lives on the line for this country.
– Sen. London Lamar, D-Memphis
State Senator London Lamar, who opposed the “stimulus bill” four years ago as a member of the House, pointed out that under the Republican administration, the Tennessee has the country’s “abortion restrictions.”
“Now they’re attacking the freedom of veterans to get the care they need,” said Lamar, a Memphis Democrat. “This particular statement does not appeal to our veterans who put their lives on the line for this country. They should be able to make decisions about their own bodies without interference from politicians. the state.
However, the Attorney General argues in their filing that the federal law is “very wrong” because the Veterans Administration does not have legal authority.
“(The VA law) reflects a disregard for the democratic process, interference with areas of traditional state governance, and opposition to the Supreme Court’s authorization of difficult questions in this area that have been ‘again’ also (ed)’ to ‘legislative institutions,'” the brief states. “(T)e VA has justified the law not because of the lack of state laws on the subject of abortion, but because the department does not accept it on principle.
The brief also argues that, instead of respecting the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s decision, the Biden Administration is trying to “take control of abortion back from the people.”
Skremetti and a group of 14 attorneys general warned the VA in November 2022 that it did not have the authority to approve the new abortion law, and informed the department that it planned to take action or a “rejection of the law.”
Attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia also signed the brief.