Rep. London Lamar’s bill to give pregnant Hope Scholarship high schoolers more time with their babies before having to go to college passed with bipartisan support, after Lamar and Rep. Antonio Parkinson reminded the committee of its “pro-life” nature, and pointed out that the intention of the bill is to make it so that underprivileged girls aren’t forced to choose between their child and their education.
There was pushback both from the representative from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) in his testimony, and from Chairman Mark White (R), who claimed that allowing this concession to pregnant teens would open up the process to people with other medical issues – like depression and mononucleosis.
Lamar pushed back by stating the obvious:
“Pregnancy is not the same as depression.”
Lamar had support from an unlikely source in Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Dunn (R), who agreed that pregnancy is different than the other medical issues Brought up, and appreciated that the bill would keep pregnant teenagers from having to choose between their children and their education.
Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D) had the last word in support, saying that pro-life legislators needed to be consistent and support this bill.
“If we are going to be in a pro-life culture we need to, at a minimum, give people the tools to make pro-life decisions.”
He then called on anyone who supported the Heartbeat Bill to support the legislation.
The bill passed 14-6.
HB0689 by Lamar – HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE:
Rec. for pass; ref to Government Operations Committee 4/3/2019
Representatives voting aye were: Baum, Byrd, Coley, DeBerry, Dixie, Dunn, Hodges, Hurt, Love, Moody, Parkinson, Vaughan, Williams, Windle — 14.
Representatives voting no were: Cochran, Haston, Leatherwood, Sexton J, Weaver, White — 6.
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