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Tennessee Abortion Laws

Explanation of Chart and More Information on Abortion Laws

Code Section 39-15-201 to 209; 37-10-301 to 307
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion (1) Failure to meet standards for legal abortion including residency requirement; (2) attempted criminal abortion; (3) coerced or compelled abortion; (4) administering to pregnant woman medicine, drug, or any substance, or using any instrument or other means with the intent to destroy the child; (5) Partial Birth abortion: no person shall knowingly perform a partial birth abortion except when necessary to save life of the mother if endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury. "Attempting to procure miscarriage" is also a felony, subject to same exceptions for legal abortions.
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion First trimester: with woman's consent upon advice of her M.D. After first trimester and before viability: with same, but in a hospital. After viability, only if necessary to preserve life or health of mother.
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Criminal abortion: Class C felony. Attempting to procure a miscarriage: Class E felony. M.D.'s failure to use due care to preserve life of baby born alive or violation of 48-hour waiting period: Class E felony; abortion on non-Tenn. resident: Class C felony; coercion to obtain abortion: Class A misdemeanor; M.D.'s abortion on minor violating consent statute: Class A misdemeanor.
Consent Requirements At least one parent must consent to abortion to be performed on minor; no parental consent necessary if emergency; minor may petition court for waiver.
Residency Requirements for Patients Mother must produce to M.D. evidence she is bona fide resident prior to procedure except in medical emergency, (but M.D. must still give information to mother)
Physician Licensing Requirements First trimester, licensed M.D. upon his medical advice and woman's consent; after first trimester to viability, licensed M.D., licensed hospital; after viability, only to preserve life of mother

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a local attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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