Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a broad pro-life law Monday to protect unborn babies from abortions once their heartbeats are detectable.
A pro-life Republican, Lee celebrated the legislation as a “historic moment” for the state, WBIR News 10 reports.
“Life is precious and everything that is precious is worthy of protecting. We know that in Tennessee and I certainly know that in my heart, which is why we worked so hard together with the legislature to make sure that this piece of legislation got done,” Lee said in a video posted online. “It’s our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our community, and certainly the most vulnerable in Tennessee includes the unborn.”
Though the legislation is described as a heartbeat bill, it includes many different measures to protect unborn babies. The law passed the state legislature in June, and pro-life lawmakers said they wrote the bill to withstand a legal challenge.
The heartbeat portion of the bill prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. It also includes other levels of restriction going up from eight weeks to 24 weeks of pregnancy, which would go into effect depending on what a court may strike down, the report states.