Kamala Harris' Roe v. Wade post draws Tennessee governor’s response: ‘Abortion isn’t healthcare’

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee spoke out last week after Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement to mark the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

"On the 48th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to ensuring that everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – no matter their income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status," Harris wrote in a Twitter post.

Harris’ message included a broader statement on Roe v. Wade that she released jointly with President Biden.

But Lee, a Republican and vocal opponent of abortion, took offense to Harris’ depiction of ending pregnancies as a form of health care.

"Abortion isn’t healthcare," Lee wrote Friday.

Last July, Lee signed into law a controversial Tennessee bill that called for some of the most restrictive abortion measures in the U.S. – but the law was quickly halted by a federal judge after Lee affixed his signature, according to The Tennessean newspaper of Nashville.

The bill called for abortions to be banned after a fetal heartbeat can be detected; or if the doctor determined the mother was seeking an abortion because of the child’s race or gender, or if the child was diagnosed with Down syndrome, among other restrictions.

The bill also included no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, the newspaper noted.

The Tennessee law, like other similar measures proposed or approved across the U.S., quickly became a target for groups such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

In his message to Harris, Tennessee’s Lee invited his Twitter followers to mark Roe v. Wade’s 48th anniversary by donating $48 to Hope Clinic, a Tennessee-based pregnancy-support organization.


Meanwhile, the Roe v. Wade anniversary brought about several other efforts around the U.S. aimed at reversing, at least in part, the controversial 1973 ruling. Among them:

In Kansas, state Republicans on Friday pushed a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state’s Constitution through the state House in an 86-38 vote, The Associated Press reported. The measure would overturn a 2019 state Supreme Court decision to declare abortion a "fundamental right" in the state.

In South Carolina, a proposal called the "South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act" was approved by a state Senate committee on Thursday and sent to the full Senate for debate, the AP reported.

Alabama and West Virginia were among other states pursuing limits on abortion, according to the AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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