Local state representative penning abortion exceptions bill

Rep. Yusuf Hakeem says bill would address situations of rape, incest, health of mother

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Tennessee Representative Yusuf Hakeem is working on a new bill that could provide exceptions to the state’s current abortion law.

Hakeem says he’s tasked state attorneys with developing a new bill in the state’s House of Representatives.

It would propose exceptions to Tennessee’s abortion law regarding issues of rape and incest, as well as the health and potential death of the mother.

Hakeem says sometimes after a law is developed, consequences follow that were not considered and at least one local resident has already had a near-death situation since the trigger law took effect in August.

“We’ve had an example of that here in the City of Chattanooga where we’ve had a citizen who had to be driven by ambulance for six hours to North Carolina so that she could have a necessary abortion to save her life,” Hakeem said.

The District 28 Representative says he isn’t the only one in state government pondering the legislation, as he knows of two Republican Senators also exploring exceptions.

In addition to patients being impacted, Hakeem says health officials are starting to avoid the Volunteer State, afraid of being tried in court and losing their licenses.

“It puts doctors in a position — we look at the investment they’ve made in themselves and then to come into a situation where you’re proven guilty, you have to be [proven] innocent,” Hakeem said. “I think that’s a bad situation that doctors see as one that they don’t want to come into because of the personal investment they’ve made in themselves.”

However, some in the community still are not convinced that exceptions are justified.

Pro-life advocate Charlie Wysong says no matter the scenario, abortion is still “immoral.”

The former minister says he sees exceptions as nothing more than excuses.

“They like to pull up rape, incest, life of the mother and I guess each one could be addressed,” Wysong said. “But I would say this: in each case, we are doing what God said not to do and that is take a life. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ includes the baby in the womb.”

Wysong says should the country and its politicians begin penning exceptions for everything, we would be a county without character.

He says he’s also lawfully defended numerous women who received abortions in the past and that more attention needs to be placed on the physical and mental distress they experience following the procedure.

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