The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June had momentous implications on a national and state level. In Tennessee, the decision set in motion a law that restricts nearly all abortions and declares that life begins at the moment of conception.

In a recent interview, Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk said the statute would not only prohibit nearly all surgical abortions, but also could criminalize medically induced abortion procedures and the morning-after pill.

Tennessee’s Human Life Protection Act

Tennessee’s Human Life Protection Act, passed in 2019, went into full effect in August as a result of Roe v. Wade being ruled unconstitutional. Generally known as the Trigger Act, the law prohibits the abortion of unborn children after fertilization, which is defined as “that point in time when a male human sperm penetrates the zona pellucida of a female human ovum.” The Trigger Act includes provisions to save the mother’s life or to “prevent irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Previously, Tennessee’s Heartbeat Bill protected unborn children at six weeks gestational age who have a heartbeat, and unborn children at eight weeks gestational age or older.

In October, Funk, in an interview with NewsChannel 5 television in Nashville, spoke about the implications of the Trigger Act.

“In Tennessee, our legislature has said that life begins at conception. The historical concept of when a life [began] used to be when the baby passed through the birth canal and drew its first breath”¦Now, in Tennessee, as soon as that egg is fertilized, that is a human life in being,” Funk said.

“It makes sense then that if we define human life that way, that abortion would be illegal right from the very beginning.”

According to the law, the morning-after pill would be illegal in Tennessee, said Funk, although he admitted that prosecution could be difficult. He also noted that the medical abortion pill procedure would also be banned.

“The reality is, in 2021 in the United States, fifty-five percent of abortions were a chemical abortion, a medical abortion, where someone takes a two pill regimen,” he said. “Now, undoubtedly [those numbers have] gone through the roof because there are no open clinics (in Tennessee) where you can actually have the surgical abortion performed.”

In the interview, Funk admitted that prosecuting those who prescribe the procedure would be nearly impossible because the two pills could be obtained via mail from virtually anywhere in the world, and taken in the privacy of a home. However, he did mention that legal issues could arise with “the unlucky five percent” of women who will experience excessive bleeding or cramping and need to be hospitalized. Those women would be required to let hospital staff know about the pregnancy-ending prescriptions.

In 2021, according to Funk, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill that would require medical personnel to report abortion pill-related cases. The bill did not pass in the Senate, but could be revisited.

“If the legislature wants to do this, they would”¦[write] a cleanup statute where the Senate joins with the House. The governor would then sign it, [and it would] say that any hospital that gets this information has to turn it over to the state Department of Health. Once it goes to the state Department of Health, it goes to the district attorney’s office,” Funk told NewsChannel 5.

“There is a lot to talk about” regarding these scenarios, he said.

As demand for the abortion pill procedure increases, not only in Tennessee, but across the nation, the conversation about access and legislation will continue in earnest.

In a CareCast entitled A Cautionary Abortion Pill Tale,“ Care Net CEO Roland Warren talked about the abortion industry’s efforts to increase its access. The strategy was in place before Roe v. Wade was overturned, and saw a surge during the pandemic.

“There is a very intentional effort by the pro-choice movement to make the abortion pill the method of choice for having an abortion,” Warren said.

On the podcast, he said the strategy was similar to one employed by a major soft drink company who wanted to target thirsty consumers everywhere.

“If you’re selling anything, you don’t just want one location, right? You want to be everywhere. You want to make it easy as possible for folks to access it,” Warren said. “If they can get the abortion pill in their own home, that’s ideal if you are in the consumer transaction business.”

While states like Tennessee and others across the nation should be lauded for their efforts to outlaw abortion, there is still much work to be done in the pro-life movement. Despite seemingly air-tight legislation, morning after pills and abortion pills will be mailed across the state and international lines where illegal, and made even more accessible where it is legal. The pro-choice abortion machine will continue to roll. May God help us to be as diligent in proclaiming our Pro Abundant Life message.