Legislature votes to require abortion signs at clinics

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 5:03pm

The state House and Senate voted by lopsided margins Wednesday to require medical offices to post signs warning it's illegal to coerce women to have abortions.

"Notice," the signs will read. "It is against the law for anyone, regardless of the person's relationship to you, to coerce you into having or to force you to have an abortion. By law, we cannot perform an abortion on you unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent. It is against the law to perform an abortion on you against your will. You have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened criminal offense to coerce an abortion."

The bill, which passed the House 87-8 and the Senate 28-2, fines clinics $2,500 and physicians $1,000 for every day the sign isn't posted conspicuously in patient waiting areas at clinics wherever abortions are performed. The legislation specifies the signs must be printed in 40-point type.

The bill's advocates say the signs are needed because many women are pressured to have abortions by Planned Parenthood counselors, the men in their lives and others. In a House committee, lawmakers rejected an amendment to make the sign also say that it's illegal to coerce a woman not to have an abortion.

There was no debate Wednesday in either the House or Senate. But in a Memphis Commercial Appeal opinion piece, one of the bill's opponents, Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, wrote:

"We all know this legislation is purely political, designed to increase the anti-abortion bona fides of lawmakers up for re-election this year. It is in the same vein as the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, a bill that purports to supersede the federal health care reform signed into law by President Barack Obama last week. 

"As lawmakers continue to posture and position themselves for the campaign trail, Tennesseans continue to suffer from prolonged unemployment, thinly stretched budgets, and even foreclosure and bankruptcy." 

4 Comments on this post:

By: free thinker on 3/31/10 at 5:00

Senator Marrero is on target. Patients in an abortion clinic are there because they want an abortion. Law already exists and is included in paperwork each patient signs, prior to any medical treatment. Oh, I forgot, this is Tennessee; where common sense is not required.

By: dogmrb on 3/31/10 at 7:42

I always liked the bumper sticker " If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one". And if you don't won't unplanned pregnancies, don't have sex.It's all about mind control : Nature MUST STOP naturing.

By: gruntz on 4/1/10 at 1:48

To free thinker: Tennesseans have a lot more common sense than you give them credit for. For instance, it takes common sense to know that patients don't take that time to read the fine print in those papers. Also, that Planned Parenthood has an obvious conflict of interest that needs to be addressed. Go Life!

By: pswindle on 4/1/10 at 5:57

What!!!!!!!!!!! Now you are treading on my rights. If this is the case, we need to put up signs everywhere about everything. The GOP cannot handle power. I can't get over this, I think the GOP will make me start talking to myself. What!!!!!!!!!!!!