NASHVILLE - Tennessee Senate Republicans and fellow abortion rights opponents divided sharply Monday over a proposed near-total abortion ban that would be one of the nation's strictest, with a National Right to Life legal expert warning both the risky approach and legal strategy on which it relies likely will fail in federal courts.
Before a packed committee room of several hundred, the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee members heard testimony, comments and sometimes-heated arguments on the proposal during their first of two days of hearings.
The proposal is a follow-up to Republican Sen. Mark Pody's controversial fetal heartbeat bill last session. It passed the Republican-controlled House but fizzled in the GOP-dominated Senate. No bill will be taken up until January.
While the fetal heartbeat bill sought to ban abortion after it can be detected - usually about six weeks into pregnancy - Pody, a Lebanon lawmaker, wants to use another method to ban it at conception.