NASHVILLE - The House today passed legislation requiring that all doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges in the county where the procedure is performed or in an adjacent county.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, was approved 72-24. The Republican-backed bill drew support from eight Democrats.
Hill said the bill is needed to protected women's health and safety.
But Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, charged that abortion providers are being unfairly singled out because the law doesn't require doctors at other ambulatory clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.
The bill affects doctors performing abortion procedures either in ambulatory clinics or in their offices.
Hill recently dropped provisions that would have used a state website to publicly post the names of doctors performing abortions as well as county-by-county demographic information about women undergoing the procedures.
Critics pointed out that abortion providers in some states have been attacked or even murdered and argued that, in small counties, the detailed information about women receiving abortions, even though their names would not be revealed, could still identify the women.
The companion to the legislation is awaiting a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.