In reaction to Tennessee's Human Life Protection Act that went into effect on August 25th, Metro City Council Members are introducing more pro-abortion legislation.
ABORTION LEGISLATION ON THE BOOKS
We've already seen Metro Council pass a resolution and a bill that work together to prevent Metro businesses from receiving economic and community development grants or Payment In Lieu Of Tax (PILOT) incentives if they do not provide travel and accommodations for employees seeking out-of-state abortions. This bill was passed on the consent agenda with no opposition during all three readings.
NEW ABORTION LEGISLATION
The newest legislation regarding abortion accommodation will be introduced by council members Freddie O’Connell, Ginny Welsch, Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda, and Emily Benedict. WPLN reported that the bill outlines a $500K grant plan that will allocate $200K for comprehensive sex education, $150K for distributing safer sex supplies, and $150K helping abortion patients get out-of-state care.
According to Council Member Ginny Welsch, the bill will be introduced during the September 6th meeting but will be deferred by rule to the first meeting in October. "I expect other colleagues to sign on," says Welsch.
WHERE'S THE MONEY COMING FROM?
Welsch told us that the grants may be funded by the regular pay budget of the council office, the Mayor’s office, and the Traffic Signal Maintenance office. According to a comment made by a Metro official as reported by WPLN, the reallocation of funds may result in job cuts or project delays. Welsch indicated that Metro Legal is researching inquiries regarding the grant of these funds.
Despite the lack of pushback on previous abortion legislation passed through the Council and the Mayor’s office, this bill might run into some opposition. "I am adamantly opposed to any taxpayer monies being utilized for a purpose like this," says Council Member Robert Swope.
The council may also experience some push back from state legislators. In 2018, TN Representative John Ragan introduced a bill that argued using taxes to subsidize abortion violated Tennessean's First Amendment rights. Similarly, the Tennessee House passed a bill introduced by TN Representative Tom Leatherwood in 2022 to prevent grants created to fund abortions using tax dollars.