April 3, 2012 — The Tennessee House on Thursday voted 72-24 to pass a bill (HB 3808) that would require doctors who provide abortion care to have hospital admitting privileges in the county where they perform the procedure or in an adjacent county, the AP/Elizabethan Star reports (AP/Elizabethan Star, 3/30).
The measure's sponsor, Rep. Matthew Hill (R), said the bill is necessary to ensure women's safety if problems arise during procedures in doctors' offices or outpatient surgical centers (Sher, Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30).
House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner noted that no other medical procedure is subject to similar restrictions for physicians.
Other critics of the bill also questioned why its supporters are singling out abortion for new regulations. "I think [the bill is] intended to do one thing and one thing only, and that is to place another requirement on a physician that makes it more difficult for [women] to seek out the services that they want that are legal in the state of Tennessee," state Rep. Gary Odom (D) said.
Hill recently dropped a controversial provision that would have made public the names of abortion providers, as well as demographic information about women who obtain the procedure (AP/Elizabethan Star, 3/30).