We have a busy week ahead of us in Nashville – one that includes both incredible opportunities to meet the needs of women and families and ensure access to reproductive health services, as well as disturbing attacks on the personal decisions and the dignity of Tennesseans.
House Bill 1660 – Ensure Treatment Instead of Punishment: This bill would permanently expand the harmful law that has resulted in jailing mothers instead of ensuring that women who have struggled with drug use have access to treatment. This policy is not supporting the health of mothers or their children. House Bill 1660 is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, March 15th in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
- What can you do? Take a moment to post on social media to show your support for the sunset of the dangerous Tennessee fetal assault law. You will find sample posts on our take action page – click HERE. If you are in Nashville, join us on Tuesday for the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee at 1:30 – click HERE for more info.
House Bill 2414 – Denying Safety and Dignity of Transgender Students: This bill disallows some students in public schools in TN the ability to utilize the restroom or locker room that matches their gender identity. Gender identity is how someone sees themselves and presents themselves to the world. IT IS who they are. This policy is disrespectful to transgender students. House Bill 2414 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, March 15th.
- What can you do? The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) and the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) are leading the efforts to oppose this legislation. Click HERE to join TEP in speaking out against this bill.
House Bill 1758 (and others) – Creating an undue burden on abortion access: There are six different bills regarding either the provision of abortion or imposing new requirements on clinics that provide abortion that will be heard this Tuesday, March 15th in the House Health Subcommittee. SIX! This is on top of the myriad of restrictions and slew of medically unnecessary requirements that already exist in Tennessee law and the two new ones that were enacted last year. Let’s be clear there is a calculated attack on abortion that has nothing to do with health and safety or quality of care and everything to do with making services harder to provide and harder to get.
- What can you do? Is your representative a member of the House Health Sub-committee? (Aren’t sure, click here!) If so, please take a moment to send a message to your representative. Let them know that these politically motivated attacks are creating a burden on women in Tennessee who need abortion care. Click HERE to send a quick message.
House Bill 1823 – Increasing Access to Contraception: This bill would give pharmacists the ability to dispense contraception. This is a positive step to ensure access to contraception and remove barriers to the ability of people to plan their pregnancies and become parents when they are ready. Over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives would help to reduce disparities in reproductive health care access and outcomes, and increase opportunities for women to access a safe, effective method of contraception, free of medically unnecessary barriers, as part of a healthy sexual and reproductive life. The bill will be heard in the House Health subcommittee on March 15th.
- What can you do? Is your representative a member of the House Health Sub-committee? (Aren’t sure, click here!) If so, please take a moment to call your representative and let them know that over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives is a good thing and can help reduce disparities in reproductive health care access and outcomes.
In addition, Healthy and Free Tennessee is excited to join the Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee for the second year in a row on their annual Day on the Hill, this Wednesday, March 16th. We are so fortunate to count so many as our allies in the work we do to protect sexual health and reproductive freedom in Tennessee, For more information or to register, please click here.
We want to do all we can to keep you updated, share resources and provide opportunities to take action. We will keep you posted on these and other issues moving forward. Thank you for standing with us and helping us to build a healthy and free Tennessee!
Allison, Dana, Katie and the rest of the Healthy and Free TN team