Tennessee Right To Life Introduces The Prenatal Life And Liberty Act
Tennessee Right to Life believes it should be public policy that abortion is never preferable to life, regardless of any medical conditions a child may have.
Currently, in Tennessee, a person can be charged with fetal homicide for killing a woman and her unborn child regardless of the child’s gestational age. This should be the same in all areas of Tennessee law, including and especially the wrongful death statute.
House Bill 1252 sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and Senate Bill 1370 sponsored by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) would allow wrongful death claims to be litigated against someone who kills a mother and her unborn child. Currently, Tennessee law only allows for wrongful death claims for unborn children past the point of viability.
The legislation would also prohibit lawsuits against doctors who failed to discover or disclose a child’s medical condition prior to the child’s birth. These “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” lawsuits occur when the parents argue that abortion would have been preferable to birth and life and petition the court for civil money damages claiming the doctor’s breach of duty and omission.
Legislative Actions on House Bill 1252
Referred to House Civil Justice Committee 02/24/2021
Placed on the calendar of House Civil Justice Subcommittee for 03/16/2021
Click Here for a Complete Listing of Legislative Actions on House Bill 1252
Legislative Actions on Senate Bill 1370
Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee 02/22/21
Click Here for a Complete Listing of Legislative Actions on Senate Bill 1370
This bill provides that there is no cause of action for:
(1) Wrongful birth on behalf of any person based on a claim that, but for an act or omission of the defendant, a person once conceived would not or should not have been born; or
(2) Wrongful life on behalf of any person based on a claim that, but for an act or omission of the defendant, the person would not have been conceived or, once conceived, would or should have been aborted.
Prenatal Life and Liberty Act Summary
For the purposes of this bill, a person will be deemed to be conceived at the moment of fertilization.
Present law provides that the right of action that a person who dies from injuries received from another, or whose death is caused by the wrongful act, omission, or killing by another, would have had against the wrongdoer, in case death had not ensued, does not abate and is not extinguished by the person’s death but passes to the person’s surviving spouse or another family member or representative of the person, as specified in present law. For purposes of this provision, present law specifies that “person” include a fetus that was viable at the time of injury, and that a fetus is considered viable if it had achieved a stage of development wherein it could reasonably be expected to be capable of living outside the uterus. This bill rewrites this provision to instead provide that “person” includes an unborn child at any stage of gestation in utero.