Catholic bishops in Tennessee have come out against the so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” which would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
The bill is already headed to the House floor for a vote. Similar legislation was introduced in 2017, but it stalled out after Tennessee’s attorney general deemed it “constitutionally suspect.”
In a joint statement posted online, the bishops of Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville say they support the concept that life starts at the moment of conception. But they're concerned about the measure's future if approved by state lawmakers.
"We must be prudent and support other pro-life pieces of legislation that stand a better chance at being upheld in court and possibly becoming the vehicle that forces the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe once and for all," Rick Mussachio, director of communications for the Diocese of Nashville, told WPLN Wednesday.
Mussachio says the bishops want to avoid strenghtening abortion rights, something he claims happens every time a court strikes down abortion bans, including similar "heartbeat bills" in other states. They cite cases in North Dakota and Arkansas.