Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill last week criminalizing abortion-inducing drugs delivered via mail.
The bill, known as HB2416, increases criminal penalties for anyone distributing abortion medication through telehealth or mail.
However, the patient provided with the abortion drugs will not face prosecution.
“An individual who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly violates this bill commits a Class E felony and, upon conviction, will be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, be imprisoned for a term not to exceed 20 years, or both,” the bill reads in part.
The measure will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. After this date, a clinician will be required to be physically present when abortion pills are issued.
The bill comes the same week, a leaked draft seemingly revealed the U.S. Supreme Court would be overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
According to POLITICO, Justice Alito writes, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he continued. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court found that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without disproportionate government regulation.
Immediately following the leak, some were skeptical of the leak’s validity.
But days later, Chief Justice John G. Roberts released a statement condemning the leak and calling for a thorough investigation:
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way,” he writes.
“We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”
Roberts added, “I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”