Abortion in Tennessee

Overview of the Ban

What the Ban Means

Abortion is now completely banned in Tennessee, except in extremely limited circumstances, due to a new state law that took effect on August 25, 2022. This means most people in Tennessee can no longer access abortion services within the state and will need to travel out of state to obtain an abortion.

When the Ban Took Effect

Tennessee’s near-total abortion ban went into effect on August 25, 2022. This was 30 days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing Tennessee’s “trigger law” to go into effect. This law was passed in 2019 in anticipation of Roe being overturned.

Limited Exceptions to the Ban

There are only three narrow exceptions in which abortion is still permitted under Tennessee’s ban:

  • To save the pregnant person’s life
  • To preserve the pregnant person’s physical health
  • If the fetus is not expected to survive the pregnancy

Impact on Access to Abortion

Need to Travel Out of State

With abortion services now largely inaccessible within Tennessee, people seeking abortions will need to travel out of state to obtain them. This creates logistical difficulties like arranging time off work, transportation, and childcare that make accessing abortion care significantly harder.

Scheduling Appointments and Waiting Periods

Many states require waiting periods between an initial consultation or counseling appointment and the abortion procedure itself. These range from 24 to 72 hours. People traveling from Tennessee for abortion care will need to plan for these mandatory delays when scheduling appointments.

Special Considerations for Minors

Minors in Tennessee seeking an abortion without parental notification will need to be aware that most states require parental consent. However, alternatives like judicial bypass may be available depending on the state.

Finding an Abortion Provider Out of State

Using Online Provider Directories

To find a verified abortion provider in a nearby state, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) directory at prochoice.org can be used. Results can be filtered by location, types of abortion services offered, and patient ages served.

Calling Hotlines for Help

Hotlines like the National Abortion Federation (1-800-772-9100) offer help to those in anti-abortion states with advice on finding appointments and other support services.

Assistance with Accessing Abortion Out of State

Types of Assistance Available

Various non-profit organizations provide different resources to aid with logistical and financial barriers to accessing out-of-state abortion care. These can cover costs for the procedure itself as well as travel, lodging, childcare and other practical needs.

Applying for Assistance

Most assistance providers require having an abortion appointment already scheduled before applications for aid can be submitted. It’s recommended to start contacting possible sources of support as soon as the details of an upcoming appointment in another state are confirmed.

Tennessee’s Abortion Laws

Current Legal Status of Abortion

As of August 25, 2022, abortion in Tennessee is under a near-total ban due to a “trigger law” going into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Details of the Total Abortion Ban

Tennessee State law bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy with only extremely narrow exceptions covering threat to the life/physical health of the pregnant person or fatal fetal anomaly. This creates an almost complete ban on abortion access within the state.

Limited Exceptions in Tennessee Law

The only legal exceptions allowing abortion under Tennessee’s ban are:

There are no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or mental health risk to the pregnant person.


Tennessee’s total abortion ban makes accessing reproductive healthcare profoundly difficult for those living in the state by necessitating out-of-state travel along with navigating legal obstacles and delays. But various organizations are working to provide information and material assistance to those seeking abortion services. Support is available for Tennesseans in figuring out where they can access care and how to get help covering costs associated with abortion access despite restrictive state laws.


Can I get an abortion at all in Tennessee now?

No, unless your situation meets one of two very narrow exceptions in Tennessee’s abortion ban law covering threat to physical health/life or non-viable pregnancies. Over 99% of abortions are now illegal.

What if I can’t afford travel costs to get an abortion out of state?

There are various non-profit groups providing financial assistance to cover travel and lodging costs related to accessing abortion. Reach out as soon as your appointment details are set for aid.

Do I have to tell my parents if I’m a minor seeking an abortion?

It varies by state. Some don’t require parental notification for minors while others have judicial bypass options. Check the specific laws where you’re planning to have the procedure.

Who can I call if I have more questions about banned abortions in Tennessee?

Trusted hotlines like those run by National Abortion Federation (1-800-772-9100) and National Network of Abortion Funds can advise those affected by new restrictions and bans.

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