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Over 700 physicians and healthcare workers call for elected leaders to reconsider abortion “trigger law”
October 10, 2022

Physicians are calling on legislators to make revisions to the Human Life Protection Act which bans abortion without exception and criminalizes physicians for providing lifesaving care. The open letter gained over 700 signatures in less than one week from healthcare professionals all across Tennessee.

TENNESSEE, USA - With concern for the health and safety of Tennesseans, physicians are calling on the Tennessee General Assembly to make revisions to the Human Life Protection Act, the “trigger law,” which bans abortion without exception and criminalizes physicians for providing lifesaving care. The open letter gained over 700 signatures in less than one week from healthcare professionals across Tennessee.

The letter was initiated by a multi-specialty group of physician advocates with Drs. Nikki Zite, Jessica Rosen, and Heather Maune writing and editing the letter. Dr. Nikki Zite, an Obstetrics Gynecology physician in Knoxville, TN, participated because she worries daily for the well-being of pregnant patients in Tennessee. “This letter quickly gained support from so many colleagues because healthcare workers don’t want a ban without exceptions. Medical professionals understand that there are situations, often heartbreaking, when ending a pregnancy is necessary. People don’t want physicians delaying care because they fear being criminalized.,” stated Dr. Zite

Dr. Jessica Rosen, an Emergency Medicine physician in Nashville, TN, shares Dr. Zite’s concerns. “This law endangers the lives of women. It bans abortion from the moment of fertilization with no regard to the location of the pregnancy, or whether the pregnancy is viable. This could delay care for women with conditions like ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies outside the uterus), as doctors and hospitals struggle to determine what treatment is legal under the law.”

Dr. Heather Maune, an Obstetrics Gynecology physician in Nashville, TN, says she sees fear in the eyes of her patients since this law was passed. “Being pregnant can be scary, and this law is insensitive to the struggles faced by families during this critical time. Many patients desperately want to have a child, and when they encounter potentially deadly pregnancy complications or are carrying a fetus with severe malformations, pregnancy termination is a hard choice, but it is often a necessary choice. Until someone has experienced these devastating complications first hand, it is hard to imagine what they would do. The bottom line is that this law removes critical care for patients and removes options for medical providers. Now, I must send patients out of Tennessee for this vital care, which is difficult for both my patients and me.”

Dr. Zite agrees with Drs. Maune and Rosen, “Abortion is patient-centered, evidence-based care. When life-saving healthcare is criminalized, it is an intrusion into the physician-patient relationship. Data from the United States and around the world shows that abortion bans are harmful and do not improve health outcomes of patients. The practices of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Emergency Medicine are only two examples of medical specialties impacted by this law. We urge Tennesseans to advocate for their healthcare and autonomy, and to not allow state legislators to limit their medical decision making.”

Read their full statement here:

As medical professionals from across Tennessee, we call on our legislature to reconsider the “trigger law,” which bans abortion without exception and criminalizes physicians for providing lifesaving care.

This law makes ending any pregnancy a felony offense, even when the pregnancy cannot survive to viability and threatens the life of the mother. This impacts women experiencing miscarriages, tubal pregnancies, or even serious infections or cancers during pregnancy.

Tennesseans should have the right to make personal health care decisions with the assistance of their doctors and healthcare team – without the intrusion of politicians. This law puts the government in charge of deciding which healthcare options are available to patients, setting a dangerous precedent that violates the sacred physician-patient relationship. And because it includes zero exceptions – not for rape, incest, fetal anomaly, or even to protect the mother’s life – it forces health care providers to balance appropriate medical care with the risk of criminal prosecution.

We stand united in support of Tennesseans to make their own medical decisions including abortion care, and we affirm the position of all relevant national societies, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association in their opposition of this dangerous legislation.


Lawyer’s mission: Translate Tennessee’s bewildering abortion ban (Associated Press, NY Post, Sept 9, 2022)

Tennessee abortion ban presents concerns for physicians (Tn Leger, Aug 19, 2022)

A race to teach abortion procedures, before the bans begin: The end of Roe v. Wade would disrupt abortion training for doctors (Washington Post, June 20, 2022)

‘Chilling effect’: Doctors face new legal quandaries under Tennessee’s abortion ban: Threat of felony, loss of license also poses threats to rural health and medical school pipeline (Tennessee Lookout, Sept 7, 2022)

Emotions intensify in Tennessee as abortion is banned (News Channel 5 Nashville, Aug 25, 2022)

'No room for grace:' Tennessee doctors could face prison time in abortion cases (News Channel 5 Nashville, Aug 24, 2022)

Tennessee doctors call abortion law 'inhumane', while anti-abortion group lauds now-active ban (Tennessean, Aug 25, 2022)

Tennessee Abortion Ban Creates Chaos and Confusion (, Sept 10, 2022)


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