'Trigger' bill would ban most abortions if Roe v. Wade overturned

Tennessee State Capitol

NASHVILLE - An alternative to the state's "heartbeat" bill is scheduled to gets its first hearing Wednesday in a legislative House subcommittee. But unlike the heartbeat bill, which seeks to challenge the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the proposed "Human Life Protection Act" would only take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 decision.

Known as the "trigger bill," the measure is seen as a safer legal approach than the heartbeat bill, which the GOP-run state House approved March 7 on a 65-21 vote. It's also more restrictive.

The House heartbeat bill, which has the support of Gov. Bill Lee, bans abortions in most instances after a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before women may know they are pregnant.

But the trigger bill prohibits abortion after fertilization or a pregnancy is confirmed with the exception of life-threatening medical emergencies.