January 14, 2015 — About 500 to 600 people rallied in Nashville on Tuesday in support of access to women's health services and against proposed abortion restrictions as the Tennessee Legislature convened for its 2015 session, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
The Women's March on Nashville featured speakers and a march to the state Capitol. Both were peaceful, with no arrests, according to the News Sentinel (Locker, Knoxville News Sentinel, 1/13).
Tennessee legislators have already proposed multiple bills that would restrict abortion, including a mandatory counseling bill (SB 13) and a bill (HB 2) that would require a physician to perform an ultrasound before an abortion, the Tennessean reports (Wadhwani, Tennessean, 1/13). HB 2 would also require that providers show the ultrasound image to the woman (Knoxville News Sentinel, 1/13).
An increased focus on abortion measures is expected in the Tennessee Legislature this session after voters approved a ballot initiative (Amendment 1) that specifies that there is no right to abortion in the state constitution (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/16/14).
The ballot effort was seen as a response from abortion-rights opponents to the 2000 state Supreme Court ruling, which found that "a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy" under Tennessee's state constitution and that any abortion restrictions should be subject to a "strict scrutiny" legal standard (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/13).