Abortion in Tennessee Factsheet

1 in 3 American women will get an abortion before the age of 45 http://www.1in3campaign.org/en

Abortion stigma is a shared belief that abortion is morally wrong and/or socially unacceptable. Abortion stigma has disastrous consequences. People seeking abortions are bullied, shamed, marginalized, and sometimes even prevented by law or intimidation from seeking safe health care services. Abortion providers are harassed, dehumanized and targeted by regulation and anti-abortion advocates. Stigma leads to the social, medical, and legal marginalization of abortion care around the world and is a barrier to access to high quality, safe abortion care. http://seachangeprogram.org/whats-new

In 2011, 16,720 women obtained abortions in Tennessee, producing a rate of 13.1 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. The rate decreased 15% since 2008, when it was 15.3 abortions per 1,000 women 15-44. Abortions in Tennessee represent 1.6% of all abortions in the United States. (Source: Guttmacher Institute)

In 2011, 113,900 TN women became pregnant; 70% of these pregnancies resulted in live births, 15% in induced abortion. This is below the national average which was 67% live births and 18% in abortions. (Source: Guttmacher Institute)

In Tennessee, the following restrictions on abortion were in effect prior to Amendment 1 as of November 1, 2014:

  • Health plans offered in the state’s Affordable Care Act health exchange may not provide coverage for abortion.
  • Public/government funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
  • The use of telemedicine or the remote prescription of abortion medication is prohibited, i.e. abortion must be performed in the physical presence of the woman.
  • At least one parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.
  • Abortion facilities must clearly post signs in 40 point Ariel font indicating that a woman cannot be “pressured, forced or coerced” to have an abortion against her will (TN Freedom from Coercion Act, passed 2010) http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/106/Bill/SB3812.pdf
  • Only a physician licensed or certified by the state, not a nurse or physician’s assistant, may perform an abortion.
  • The Life Defense Act of 2012 requires clinics to report detailed demographic data on doctors and patients to the TN state government. http://data.rhrealitycheck.org/law/tennessee-life-defense-act-of-2012-hb-3808/
  • Life Defense Act of 2012 requires doctors performing abortions at clinics to have hospital admitting privileges no further than an adjacent county away.

In 2015, the following bills (read more here) were passed affecting abortion:

  • Pregnant people seeking an abortion in TN will now have to make two trips to a clinic, waiting 48 hours after getting in-person counseling from a doctor before being able to return for the procedure.
  • All clinics performing more than 50 surgical abortions each year must be regulated as outpatient surgery centers — a law that has forced clinic closures in other states. The measure could jeopardize the operations of 2 of TN’s 7 abortion providers that are not already regulated under those Department of Health rules. (This law is being challenged in the courts, see here.)
  • A physician performing an abortion is now required to tell women and pregnant people the following or risk felony or misdemeanor arrest or the revocation of medical license (what they are calling “informed consent”):
  • The gestational age of the fetus.

    That “numerous public and private agencies and services are available to assist her during her pregnancy and after the birth of her child, if she chooses not to have the abortion.” Physicians are required to provide a list of those agencies upon request.

    A description of the abortion procedure.

    The medical benefits, risks or both of undergoing an abortion or continuing pregnancy to term.

    That if a pregnancy has reached 24 weeks of gestation or more, and a viable child is born during the course of an abortion, the physician has a legal obligation to take steps to preserve the health and life of the child.

In 2016, the following bills were passed affecting abortion:

  • Remains of unborn children cannot be bought or sold following an abortion. Requires informed consent in writing by a woman prior to an abortion specific to the disposition / disposal of her unborn child’s body.

For a full list of recent years’ legislation, see TN Right to Life.

As of Dec 1, 2015 there were 7 abortion clinics in Tennessee:

  1. Planned Parenthood – Nashville
  2. The Women’s Center – Nashville
  3. Bristol Regional Women’s Center – Bristol, TN
  4. Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health – Knoxville, TN
  5. Planned Parenthood – Knoxville, TN*
  6. CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health – Memphis, TN
  7. Planned Parenthood – Memphis, TN

*The Knoxville Planned Parenthood doesn’t do surgical abortions, but they do offer induced/medical abortions i.e. abortion induced with medication, which is most effective for first trimester abortions (9 weeks or earlier).

There are no clinics in Tennessee that perform abortions past 16 weeks of gestation.

3 of the 7 clinics are run by Planned Parenthood. The Bristol Regional Women’s Center and The Women’s Center in Nashville are run by the same provider and are not clinics, just doctors offices, which makes them more vulnerable to regulation. CHOICES is an independently run nonprofit.

4 of the 6 abortion clinics in the state that provide surgical abortions currently meet the states’s new ambulatory surgical center licensing standards (2015 legislation). Knoxville’s Planned Parenthood only provides medication abortion and, therefore, does not have to be licensed as an ambulatory surgical center. The Bristol and Nashville clinics are the two remaining clinics that provide surgical abortions and are not licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. There is a currently a lawsuit to fight this requirement http://www.womenshealthpolicyreport.org/articles/tenn-lawsuits.html

The total number of abortion providers in TN is down from 14 in 2011. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/pdf/tennessee.pdf

In 2011, 96% of Tennessee counties had no abortion clinic. 63% of Tennessee women lived in these counties. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/pdf/tennessee.pdf

How to self induce an abortion with the abortion pill and what to expect, see: Women on Waves. This is not legal in Tennessee. If you self induce and you need to seek medical assistance due to complications from the procedure, do not tell anyone that you tried to induce an abortion or you could be subject to criminal charges of attempted murder or murder.

pregnancies are calculated from the date of your last period, meaning on average 2 weeks of pre-conception time (in which there was factually no pregnancy) are included in the count. Everyone needs to be advised to never give a health provider their LMP (last menstrual period) but rather an estimated conception date and vague references to periods being irregular. This buys vital time for those deciding whether to keep a pregnancy, and protects those who do want to carry to term from unnecessary induced labor.

Tennessee provides funding to pregnancy resource centers (also called “abortion alternatives” or “crisis pregnancy centers”) through a Choose Life specialty license plate program. A license plate supporting women’s right to choose is not available. http://www.tn.gov/revenue/vehicle/licenseplates/miscellaneous/miscellaneous.shtml and http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/us/28bar.html and has been opposed by the TN legislature in the past.

If you are considering an abortion, do not visit a crisis pregnancy resource center. They will not give you accurate information about abortion services and will try to talk you into choosing another option. They may also lie to you about the risks of abortion in order to dissuade you from obtaining one. (Source: NARAL) Moreover, they will try and delay you.  Their delay tactics cost precious weeks of decision making. If you wait too long, you will not be able to access an abortion legally in TN because abortion is illegal after viability (20-24 weeks).

Pregnancies are calculated from the date of your last period, meaning on average 2 weeks of pre-conception time (in which there was factually no pregnancy) are included in the count. Everyone needs to be advised to never give a health provider their LMP (last menstrual period) but rather an estimated conception date and vague references to periods being irregular. This buys vital time for those deciding whether to keep a pregnancy, and protects those who do want to carry to term from unnecessary induced labor.

The risk of death associated with childbirth is approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion in the U.S. The pregnancy-associated mortality rate among women who delivered live babies was 8.8 deaths per 100,000 live births. The mortality rate related to induced abortion was 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions. (Source: US National Institutes of Health)

An abortion-related death is defined as a death resulting from a direct complication of an abortion (legal or illegal), an indirect complication caused by a chain of events initiated by an abortion, or an aggravation of a preexisting condition by the physiologic or psychological effects of abortion.

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(Source: CDC; 2009 is most recent data available)

TN abortion rate over time(Source: Guttmacher Institute)

63% of U.S. adults say they would not like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn Roe v. Wade, while 29% want to see the ruling overturned. These figures have remained relatively stable for more than 20 years. (Source: Pew)

62% of U.S. adults know that Roe v. Wade was a decision about abortion, but among adults under 30 years old, only 44% are aware of this fact. Younger adults also are less likely to view abortion as an important issue: 62% of Americans ages 18-29 say it is “not that important” compared with other issues, while 53% of adults overall say this. (Source: Pew)

In the mid-1970s, when Gallup started polling on the issue, adults aged 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 were the most supportive of legal abortion under any circumstances, and those 65 and older the least, with 50- to 64-year-olds falling in between. That pattern continued through the late 1990s. Since 2000, however, adults aged 18 to 29 are less supportive of abortion than any age group except those over 65. (Source: Gallup)

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From 2011 to 2013, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted, while only 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade put together (2001-2010). (Source: Guttmacher)

Abortions represent 3% of total services provided by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does receive federal funding for some of its health services, but federal money has not been used for abortions at Planned Parenthood or anywhere else since the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976. http://www.factcheck.org/2011/04/planned-parenthood

Informed consent is mandated by statute or case law in all 50 states. Informed consent is the concept that individuals have a right to receive relevant, accurate and unbiased information prior to receiving medical care so they can make sound decisions regarding treatment. States have been enacting “informed consent” mandates specific to abortion (and will likely do so in TN). Although most of the information in the materials about abortion conforms to recent scientific findings and the principles of informed consent, some content—specifically, that which is related to breast cancer, psychological impact, fetal pain and referrals for additional care—is either misleading or altogether incorrect. (Source: Guttmacher)

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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws by state chart, below (source: Guttmacher)


Overview of state abortion law chart (source: Guttmacher), below



Overview of counseling and waiting period requirements by state chart, below (source: Guttmacher)

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Read more:

4 Major Lies About Abortion That Have Made Their Way Into Our Laws Nov 13, 2014 http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/11/13/3592087/major-abortion-lies-laws and http://time.com/3582434/6-abortion-myths/

For a Christian blog re: what the Bible says about when a fetus becomes a living being, see: http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/tcl-blog/the-bible-tells-us-when-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being

11 Arguments Against Abortion Access, Debunked http://www.bustle.com/articles/17141-how-to-argue-pro-choice-11-arguments-against-abortion-access-debunked

Catholic religious restrictions cause hospitals to commit malpractice by refusing to perform medically necessary abortions http://valerietarico.com/2013/06/06/do-catholic-restrictions-on-healthcare-force-doctors-to-commit-medical-malpractice/


Posted in News

Introducing Nashville Feminist Collective’s Leadership

(Reverse alphabetical by last name)


1. Whitney Washington (pronouns: she, her hers) General Council on Finance and Administration for the United Methodist Church (Staff); WDYO radio station (Volunteer); University of Montevallo (Alumni)






2. Nancy Villegas (pronouns: she, her hers) Cane Ridge High School (Senior); Students of Stonewall at the Oasis Center




3. Marisa Richmond (she, her, hers) Middle Tennessee State University (Professor: Department of History, Women’s & Gender Studies Program); Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (Volunteer); Davidson County Democratic Party (Regional Vice Chair); Davidson County Democratic Women (Past President, 2013)


4. Rosa Ponce (pronouns: she, her, hers) Austin Peay State University (Alumni); Workers’ Dignity (Volunteer); CAPE Coalition Advocating for Public ED (Volunteer); UCW United Campus Workers (Volunteer); Kids’ Justice School (Co-facilitator)



5. Briana Perry (pronouns: she, her, hers) Vanderbilt University (Graduate Student); Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center; Healthy and Free Tennessee; Black Lives Matter




6. Doris Palomino (pronouns: she, her, hers) Migrant Women’s Committee at Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition TIRRC (Member): State of Tennessee (Staff); Vanderbilt University (Alumni)




7. Juli Hishida (pronouns: she, her, hers) National Health Care for the Homeless Council (Staff); Family and Children’s Service Nashville (Crisis Specialist); National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum – Nashville Chapter (Leadership); Lipscomb University (Alumni); Tennessee State University (Alumni)


Sarah G
8. Sarah Grove (pronouns: she, her hers) Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee (Staff Therapist); MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience at Vanderbilt (Staff); Nashville Sexual Assault Center (Volunteer); Nashville’s LGBT+ Community; Vanderbilt Divinity School (Alumni)



Sarah F
9. Sarah Flowers (pronouns: she, her, hers) Sewanee: University of the South (Alumni); Centerstone of Tennessee (Staff)




10. Alex Chambers (pronouns: she, her, hers) Vanderbilt (Graduate Student); Feminisms in a Prison Nation Reading Group; Healthy and Free Tennessee; Democracy Nashville; Well Inside + Out



11. Anna Carella (pronouns: she, her, hers) Vanderbilt (Graduate Student); SURJ Showing Up For Racial Justice Nashville (Steering Committee); Healthy and Free Tennessee; Nashville Sexual Assault Center (Volunteer); Advocates for Women’s and Kids’ Equality AWAKE



12. Leah Broderick (pronouns: she, her, hers) Belmont University (Undergraduate Student); Vote No on 1 (Volunteer); Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee (Volunteer)




Members of the feminist discernment group put out a call for feminist leadership nominations in September. Thank you to all who nominated yourself or others! There were 36 people in total who were nominated. All 36 were contacted by email. A value that had been articulated by the discernment group was that the feminist leadership should be majority people of color. The 12 leaders were selected based on our value of diversity and nominees’ willingness to lead and responsiveness to communication.

The leadership set the intention of meeting twice a month. Thus far we have met four times: October 22nd, November 5th, November 19th, and December 3rd. Our first two meetings we spent getting to know each other. Many of us had never met before our first meeting. Starting with the third meeting we began working through Achieving Transformative Feminist Leadership: A Toolkit for Organisations and Movements, published by CREA, a feminist human rights organization based in New Delhi, India and one of the few international women’s rights organizations based in the global South. The toolkit is designed to help us all understand how our conscious and unconscious relationship to power impacts our relationships with one another and our leadership of the feminist collective. We encourage members to read the toolkit, along with the other publication it references Feminist Leadership for Social Transformation: Clearing the Conceptual Cloud.

We follow the advice of the toolkit by starting each meeting with a check-in and mindfulness activity. On November 19th, we all read the first chapter/module, reviewed it together, took a personality test, and shared our results with each other. On December 3rd, we completed exercise 1.a “Personal History with Power” (p. 83 of the toolkit) by writing our responses and sharing some of our reflections with each other, whatever felt comfortable. Our next meeting is December 17th.

We encourage feminist collective members to reach out to our new leadership with any questions you might have about who we are, what our processes are (some of these we are still working out), and ideas about the collective’s future. We want to be as transparent as possible and are open to new ideas (and critiques) from membership about how we are doing business.

We intend to hold membership meetings again at some point, but for now we ask for your patience while we get to know one another and begin to feel comfortable sharing power and leading collectively. We hope this initial investment in relationship building will set us up to work better together and with all our members.

We look forward to what lies ahead!

Posted in News

Call for Leaders!!!


Dear feminists,

Nashville Feminist Collective has over 1,300 members – wow!! In less than two years this group has grown to include hundreds of members who have participated in many new and exciting events supporting feminism in the greater Nashville area including monthly trivia nights, reading groups, a march against gender-based violence, and spoken word performances, amongst others. The creation of this group clearly tapped a nerve – there is a palpable need and desire to connect feminists and to build community in Nashville. The energy behind this group is truly exciting!

For several months now, a few active members have been discussing the vision and future of the NFC. This “discernment group” has explored together possible new avenues of action for the collective. It is our hope that the NFC will continue to grow as a local radical coalition of individuals and groups, bringing together people of differing identities and backgrounds to find some common ground and work together to advance feminist goals and build collective power. We also want the Nashville Feminist Collective to solidify its own identity as a group devoted to advocacy, education, and building power, all while maintaining our intent to deepen our efforts towards greater intersectionality (i.e. centering the experiences of people most marginalized because of their social positioning at the intersections of systems of oppression, i.e. race, class, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, ability, religion, nationality, and more).

In the spirit of full transparency, active members of the “discernment group” have been: Anna Carella, one of the founders of NFC, Doris Palomino, member of the Immigrant Women’s Committee/Comite De Mujeres Migrantes Nashville at TIRCC, Kelly Hill, chair of the Nashville chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Whitney Washington and Olusola Tribble, leaders of the NFC march against gender-based violence and the feminist multimedia art event in April 2015, and Alex Chambers, a discussion group facilitator. D.J. Hudson, Policy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for SisterReach, attended some early meetings, and Hasina Mohyuddin, a member of the Islamic Center of Nashville, contributed insights and perspectives by email.

This particular group of “discerners” focused on getting to know each other better since we believe the foundation of organizing is relationship-building and, ultimately, friendship. We came together in the spirit of diversity, trying to bring women and gender nonconforming folks who may not know each other together into an intersectional space, while acknowledging that our efforts at inclusivity were always imperfect and incomplete, and that limits on people’s time and energy were working against us. We acknowledge that the discernment group was not as diverse as we hope the Collective will be in the future.

To ensure that NFC continues to work towards an intersectional politics and to grow into our vision, we have identified the need to create a somewhat more formal structure. This includes establishing more clearly defined leadership. The intention is not to take away agency or initiative from members, but is a way to help share responsibilities and the everyday work of planning, communication, etc. In the next few weeks, we will be initiating a process to recruit new leaders for the NFC. This process will include a combination of nomination and application. We hope to find a diverse group of committed and passionate people to lead the group. We do not want the future leadership to be composed of only white, cis, able-bodied, middle class, heterosexual, documented US citizens.

To give the NFC the structure it needs to thrive, we imagine this leadership council could include two co-chairs, a secretary/historian, treasurer, and a social media/communications representative, along with a number of at-large or general leadership members. We hope that establishing a leadership council will ensure that our goals for events, advocacy, and other areas are met.

We also hope that this leadership will further imagine its role and the growing and possibly, changing, possibilities for NFC in order to move the group forward. While we are imagining an NFC leadership into being, we do not want to limit this new leadership with our own imaginations. So, if you have interest in serving as a leader of NFC, imagining what NFC could be, and working to create that space with others, we ask you to join us!

We imagine that leaders might take on the following responsibilities:

  • Holding regular meetings (perhaps monthly?)
  • Outreach – building membership and participation
  • Planning of events (or delegation to others for planning) that contribute to the collective’s mission (i.e. intersectional feminism, community building, activism/advocacy, etc.)
  • Commitment to intersectional feminism and inclusiveness
  • Moderation of the Facebook group page to remove hateful speech and spam
  • Management of and contribution to the website nashvillefeministcollective.com

Nominations for Leadership

If you would like to serve nominate yourself or someone else as a leader of the NFC, please submit your contact information using this Google form. We highly encourage self-nominations by interested individuals. Nominations will be accepted until September 10th, 2015.

Please direct any questions you might have to nashvillefeministcollective@gmail.com.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

My Body Is Mine: A March for Freedom from Sexual Violence

Thank you to everyone who joined the march for freedom against sexual violence on April 11, 2015!


Here’s the story: Friday evening April 10th, we gathered for an art-making event at 8th & Argyle, a women-owned artists cooperative. We enjoyed music, vegan treats, and took part in some inspired poster and puppet making. Freedom Arts / Arte de Libertad brought paint, cardboard, and their social justice art making expertise.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Freedom Arts, it’s headed up by the fabulous Bobbi Negrón and Jairo Robles (photos below). We are so lucky to have them here in Nashville! They also work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida and with our very own Workers’ Dignity/ Dignidad Obrera and Nashville Fair Food here at home.

IMG_6324  IMG_6280 

NFC came prepared with a number of slogans and many people chose to write their own messages.

IMG_6255  IMG_6263  IMG_6266

It’s not a march without a puppet. Marie, Bobbi, and others worked hard on our puppet with a “stop sexual violence now” message.

IMG_6256  IMG_6307


As usual Rafi stole the show as the littlest and cutest (sorry everybody else!) feminist in the room.

The following day, April 11th, we prepared for the march. Whitney led us in a security training while folks gathered at the base of the Capitol at Bicentennial Park. When we arrived we were approached by a state trooper who explained this was state property – oops! None of the planners had ever led an action, so much capacity was built, many mistakes were made, and we learned so much. Thanks to everyone for bearing with us, despite all the hiccups: choosing a meeting point in full sun, not specifying clearly which part of the park to meet in, marching too far a distance, setting a pace that was too quick, etc.

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Hiccups and all, once we got started we were a vision.

We marched to Gay Street and around the Davidson County Criminal Justice Center. We stopped so that Whitney could read a speech that another member of NFC wrote about sexual assault in prison.

[TRANSCRIPT] “We stand here, outside of the Criminal Justice Center, to acknowledge that while we often turn to policing, jails and prisons as a response to sexual violence they are in fact themselves, purveyors of sexual violence. The stark realities are often masked by a culture that has made prison rape a running punch line.

Just last August, Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was arrested and charged with 32 sex crimes against at least 13 black women who had criminal histories of drug use and prostitution.[1] His assaults escalated from groping to rape and he returned to and re-victimized some of the same women, using threats of jail to illicit compliance.  At the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama it was recently revealed that corrections officers had raped, beaten and harassed women for at least 18 years and sex was used as currency for basic supplies such as toilet paper and tampons.[2]

Sexual assaults by law enforcement cannot be written off as isolated incidents but must be understood as part of the state violence of policing and incarceration. The U.S. incarcerates more of its people than any other country in the world—mostly poor people and disproportionately people of color. Most often charged with non-violent crimes, nearly 1 in 10 people in jail and prison—men, women, and youth—suffer sexual violence while incarcerated, queer and trans people disproportionately so.[3]  For those who have experienced sexual violence prior to or during incarceration, strip and cavity searches are re-traumatizing violations.

Incarceration strips people of their bodyright—saying in essence, “your body is not yours, it belongs to the state.” To create safe and healthy communities, we must stand in solidarity with all victims and survivors of sexual violence.*

Then we swung back to 4th Ave, turned left to head towards Broadway, marched up Broadway to 8th, then on to Legislative Plaza, and back to Bicentennial.

Chants included: “Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho. / Sexual assault has got to go” …. “Our bodies. Our lives. / We will not be compromised” …. “1‐2‐3‐4 / We won’t take it anymore! / 5‐6‐7‐8 / No more violence! / No more hate!”

IMG_6398  IMG_6397

At Legislative Plaza, Cristina, an organizer for Workers’ Dignity, shared a few words (thanks to Brenda for translating!) about the global fight against gender-based violence and how it’s important that we work across borders.

And Whitney talked about HB 1239/SB 981, a bill being considered this session in Tennessee that would create a protocol for the collection and testing of sexual assault evidence kits.

IMG_6384  IMG_6383 11134332_10100345660889942_1813113389_n  11118337_10100345660894932_1076949303_n

At the conclusion of the march, we gathered for a Speak Out where survivors shared stories and everyone rallied in support. Olusola invited everyone to “MY BODY IS MINE: BEAUTIFUL, mystical magical, (W)holy” on Friday, April 24, 7:00 pm at Vanderbilt Divinity School. My Body is Mine is a creative arts gathering of poetry, dramatic readings, music, painting, dance, and community art making that seeks to empower women, speak out against domestic and sexual violence, and declare that all bodies are sacred. When broken bodies come together, we can all be made whole.


News Channel 5 was there filming the event and covered our action on the 10 o’clock news. Watch the coverage here: News Channel 5: Survivors of Sexual Assault Rally In Downtown Nashville.

Please join us throughout the month as we continue to raise awareness about sexual violence. Stop Violence Period!

*For more information, see:
[1] Prosecutors File Six Additional Felony Counts Against OKC Officer
[2] Troubles at Women’s Prison Test Alabama
[3] Report: Nearly 10 percent of inmates suffer sexual abuse.

Posted in Activism, Art, Feminism, Violence | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

#NashvilleSAAM #StopViolencePeriod

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

For the month of April, Nashville Feminist Collective will be participating in the ‪#‎30DaysOfSAAM‬ – the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s (NSVRC) Instagram contest. For daily themes – check the NSVRC’s Facebook pagewebsite, or this flyer.


For graphics to download and use for your profile picture in honor of #SAAM, click here.

We have a whole calendar of events this month, including #SAAM trivia, a #TakeBackTheBars bar crawl, a protest/visibility march, a reading/discussion group, and more! Check out what we’ve got planned at our Stop Violence Period page.

Stop Violence Period

stopviolenceperiod Also happening this month: we are launching a new project! Stop Violence Period is a collective and scattered performative action(s) that seeks to stop violence against women and girls, bring awareness to the both disparate and intersectioned economies of violence, and to spring forth the hope of peace, justice and safety in the world. In doing so, we intend to transgress normative boundaries of respectability and outrage sensibilities. We will not be silent, period. Twitter: @noviolencperiod Instagram: @stopviolenceperiod Gmail: stopviolenceperiod@gmail.com In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and inspired by Elonë in Germany (read her story featured in Huff Post), our first project seeks to bring awareness to the horror of sexual violence. Look for our maxi pads around town this month.


Follow us on Instagram @nashvillefeministcollective and @stopviolenceperiod AND put up your own maxi pads with your own messages and tag us so we can repost! Let’s cover this town in sexual assault awareness, y’all. #SAAM #NashvilleSAAM #MyBodyIsMine #StopViolencePeriod

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

Legislation to Watch This Session in TN

Following Women’s Day on the Hill yesterday we were inspired to put together a list of legislation that feminists might be interested in following, supporting, opposing, and/or lobbying. There are a whopping 12 bills (!!!) aimed at limiting abortion access, but there’s much more on the agenda affecting women in TN than just abortion.

You don’t have to be affiliated with an organization to lobby, but if you’d prefer to go with a group, Planned Parenthood has a lobby day on March 10th. For those of you who are interested in lobbying, here are 1o Basic Tips for the Occasional Lobbyist.

To follow any or all of these bills, visit The Tennessee General Assembly and create a My Bills profile. This tool allows users to create a personalized list of bills to follow through the legislative process. Additionally, users can subscribe to committee calendars and view agendas.

Our Watch List:

HB 974/SB 1159 Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee and the Senate Commerce and Labor CommitteeThis bill explicitly require employers to reasonably accommodate employees with conditions related to pregnancy when necessary to keep a worker safe, healthy, and employed. Read more from abetterbalance.org‘s fact sheet on Pregnancy Discrimination in Tennessee. If you’re a voter in TN, sign this online petition in support of the PWFA to US Senator Lamar Alexander.

HB 557/SB 663 Family and Medical Leave Feasibility Study – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Health Committee and the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. This bill requires the commissioner of labor and workforce development to study the feasibility of the development or implementation of a paid family and medical leave program at the state level. Read more from abetterbalance.org‘s fact sheet on Paid Family Leave in Tennessee: Studying the Issue.

HB 1353/SB 1394 Access to Prenatal Care – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Health Committee and the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. This bill directs the Dept. of Health’s commissioner to develop a plan for ensuring that 90% of pregnant women in TN have access to prenatal care.

HB 552/SB 662 Paid Leave Policies Supporting Parental Involvement in Children’s School Activities – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Consumer and Human Resources Committee and the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. This bill equires an employer to grant four hours leave per year to any employee who is a parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis of a school-aged child so that the employee may attend or otherwise be involved at the child’s school.

HB 296/SB 371 LGBT Anti-Discrimination Protections – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Consumer and Human Resources Committee and the Senate Judiciary CommitteeThis bill adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the list of characteristics protected from discrimination or harassment in employment, public accommodations, housing, financing, insurance, education, in places where alcoholic beverages are consumed, real estate, public utilities, tax exemptions, the profession of healing arts, health facilities, and welfare in the state.

HB 1159/SB 1037 Require Bullying Policies and Consistent Reporting – SUPPORT
This bill would require school districts to develop policies against harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying. According to the TN Equality Project, students need a clear way to report bullying without getting in trouble. The first statewide bullying report compiled in 2013 from school districts showed a wide variety of approaches. Some districts reported 0 cases of bullying, which is not realistic. Moreover, we need more specificity in the reports, i.e. why the student is being bullied — race, appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, etc. We can’t accurately address what we’re not measuring.

HB0539/SB1033 Mandated Education for Early Childhood Illness Cytomegalovirus (CMV) – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Insurance and Banking Committee and the Senate Health and Welfare CommitteeCytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common congenital viral infection in the United States, yet only 14% of women have heard about it. According to the CDC, 1 out of 150 children is born with congenital CMV, which places them at risk of blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities and even death. This virus is preventable. AWAKE has proposed a bill that requires healthcare professionals who care for pregnant women and/or women who may become pregnant to provide information to patients regarding CMV prevention and symptoms. Read more: CMV Fact Sheet.

HB 217/SB 428 Protecting Victims of Domestic Abuse Strangulation – SUPPORT
Recognizing that victims of strangulation are seven times more likely to become homicide victims, AWAKE has drafted legislation to strengthen our strangulation law to make prosecution of this extremely dangerous crime safer for survivors. Assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read more: Strangulation Fact Sheet.

HB 754/SB 1160 Removing Barriers to Treatment for Sex Trafficking & Abuse Survivors – SUPPORT
Assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Criminal Justice Committee. AWAKE is proposing legislation that would help survivors of sex crimes who were convicted of aggravated prostitution recover from both substance and physical abuse and receive longterm treatment and screenings for HIV under enhanced probation for ten years. This approach to offender rehabilitation would remove them from the sex offender registry, which prevents these survivors from receiving medical care, recovering from their abuse, and engaging in their communities as parents and employees. Read more: Aggravated Prostitution Fact Sheet.

HB 387/SB 256 Extends Term of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women – SUPPORT
This bill failed in the Senate committee yesterday making national news — Think Progress and HuffPost — for the question asked by Sen. Mike Bell (R) “With women making up 51 percent of the population of the state, why don’t we have a men’s economic council?” The council publishes a monthly newsletter on their website.

HB 218/SB 1089 Prohibits Custody of Child to Person Charged with Child Abuse – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Civil Justice Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Prohibits the court from awarding any form of custody to a parent who is charged with or indicted for aggravated child abuse, sexual abuse of a child, or severe child sexual abuse while the charge or indictment is still pending.

SB 1121/HB 554 Eliminates Custody for the Rapist of a Child Conceived from Rape – SUPPORT
Assigned to the House Civil Justice Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Eliminates the rights of custody, visitation, and inheritance for persons convicted of aggravated rape, rape, or rape of a child from which crime the child was conceived; permits the child’s other parent to request reasonable visitation with the convicted parent; requires a court to establish a child support obligation for the convicted parent.

HB 1239/SB 981 Mandates Rape Evidence Lab Testing within 60 Days – SUPPORT
This bill requires that either a healthcare provider or law enforcement agency must submit rape kits for testing within sixty (60) days of being prompted by a victim of sexual assault to go forward with the case. As reported in the Tennessean, past rape kit testing has been delayed years. Indeed, a report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation found more than 9,000 untested rape kits in the state of TN, some dating back 30 years.

HB 566/SB 397 Religious Opt Out of Counseling LGBT Youth at Public Universities – OPPOSE
This bill allows counseling, psychology, and social work students at Tennessee public universities to opt out of serving clients based on the students’ religious beliefs. This bill is bad for clients who may feel additional stigma because they are being rejected by a counselor at a time when they need help. This bill targets LGBT clients. SB0586/ HB1340 

Amendment to Increase Criminalization of Existing “Pregnancy Criminalization Law” – OPPOSE
Assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Criminal Justice Committee. This bill requests an amendment to the existing pregnancy criminalization law that would add use by pregnant woman of methamphetamine to a list of substances/behaviors subject to prosecution for assault. The first woman arrested under the pregnancy criminalization law in Tennessee was charged for methamphetamine use after she and her newborn tested positive even though methamphetamine was not included under the law at that time. This bill puts new moms struggling with addiction in jail rather than prioritizing affordable access to effective treatment options so they can get the help they need and stay with their families.  Read more: “The State Where Giving Birth Can Be Criminal.”

SB0587/ HB1344 Dept. of Health Commissioner to Report on “Pregnancy Criminalization Bill” – MONITOR/OPPOSE
This bill was recommended to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee requiring the commissioner of health to be in consultation with medical licensing bodies, district attorney’s general, and the commissioner of mental health and substance abuse services about how the pregnancy criminalization law impacts how pregnant women access health care.

HB 948/SB 716, HB1368/SB1280, HB 50/SB 69 Facility Requirements for Abortion Providers – OPPOSE
These bills would require that abortion only be performed in facilities that are licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers (ASTC), a medically unnecessary requirement that is not grounded in evidence-based care. Read more about Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws at the Guttmacher Institute and why these types of regulations often have the effect of unnecessarily shutting down clinics. For a state-by-state breakdown of TRAP laws, including TN, see this fact sheet.

HB 2/SB 775 Mandated Ultrasounds for Abortions  – OPPOSE
This bill requires that a person undergo a transabdominal ultrasound before they seek an abortion. It is wrong for politicians to tell a woman that she has to endure a procedure that is not medically necessary and that she may not want. It contradicts the principle of informed consent and interferes with the doctor/patient relationship.

HB 989/SB 1190, SB 13 Delaying Access to Abortion with Mandatory Waiting Periods – OPPOSE
These bills interfere with the informed consent process and forces people to delay accessing services. It is not the place of politicians to determine what type of information should be read or shared during a health care visit. Women take the decision to seek abortion seriously. We should offer respect and support, not more barriers to health services.

HB0480/SB1201 Restricting Private Clubs from Locating Within 1000 Feet of Schools or Churches OPPOSE
Sponsored by Democrats Rep. Beck and Sen. Yarbro, this bill is aimed to put restrictions on a privately owned swingers club in Nashville. The definition of “Private Club” specifically targets one club due to the sexual practices of consenting adults. This bill targets a business due to stigma against a sexual minority community.

HB 336/SB 213 Terminates the Advisory Committee on Women’s Health – OPPOSE
The National Conference of State Legislatures explains, at least 17 state legislatures have created or authorized an office or commission of women’s health, including Tennessee. State initiatives on women’s health can provide many different roles, including developing agendas on women’s health issues, providing policy guidance to the governor, state legislature or the department of health; serving as a clearinghouse and resource for information on women’s health for the public; and overseeing and identify funding sources for direct health care services.

HB 756 Prohibits Serving Alcohol to Pregnant Women – OPPOSE 
Creates a Class A misdemeanor to serve alcoholic beverages or beer to a pregnant woman for consumption on the premises. Heavy drinking is linked to negative birth outcomes, but research does not show increased risks for light alcohol consumption. Fetal protection laws infringe on the mother’s personhood and interfere with a pregnant woman’s autonomy. This is a public health issue not requiring a criminal justice response.

** What other legislation should we feminists be watching? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!!

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Posted in Feminism, Politics | Tagged , , , , ,

First Ever Trans Visibility March in Tennessee

Yesterday, February 22nd, was the first ever trans visibility march in Tennessee. The event was planned by the Tennessee Trans Journey Project (TNTJ), headed by LaSaia Wade, Executive Director. LaSaia founded the organization last year in response to the killing of Gizzy Fowler, a trans woman found dead in Bordeaux, a Nashville suburb, last November.

Over a hundred trans folks and allies were in attendance. The group started at Legislative Plaza and marched west down Church Street.

Marisa Richmond attended and spoke during the march. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Marisa, she’s a lobbyist for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, professor of History and Women’s and Gender studies at MTSU, and the first openly transgender person to win an election in the history of the State of Tennessee.


photo (right): LaSaia Wade, Executive Director TNTJ

Rj Robles also spoke, saying: “We must build solidarity, but we must act now because my life deserves more, all our lives fucking deserve more. Let us be angry, let us struggle, not one more, let us breathe, but let us show love today to all trans people. And let us continue to fight for our rights until we get it right.”

photo (below): Rj Robles and Rell Freeman address the crowd


Finally, LaSaia Wade addressed the crowd, saying: “Creating Change was a change for me,” referring to the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual Creating Change event in Denver, Colorado earlier this month where a group of nearly 100 trans people and allies stormed the stage during a planned address, demanding solidarity from LGBQ advocates.

“Creating Change brought me back to reality and where I needed to be. It brought me focus. It brought me the power I needed to bring to Tennessee,” she said to the crowd. “Today we’re demanding our rights. Today we will leave here and spread the word that we will not stand without our rights. We will walk into spaces that don’t include us so we can speak about our rights. Some of these boards don’t have trans people on them. Some of these boards don’t allow trans people to speak. Some of these boards don’t include trans people or people of color. It’s time to change. We are the T [in LGBT] and you will – from here on out – include us in decision making, make us leaders, and allow us to lead, because if you don’t we will shut you down!”

LaSaia’s comments were addressed to OutCentral, a LGBT center in Nashville that does not have any trans people of color on their board or in leadership positions. The march symbolically ended in front of their office on Church Street.

LaSaia also announced that TNTJ would be organizing a May Day protest on May 9, 2015.

IMG_5447   trans visibility march

Posted in Activism, LGBT | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments