‘What are our options?’: Residents travel out of state for abortions as new poll shows TN voters want exceptions to the law
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When Lou Ridley was asked to help, it wasn’t whether or not she would say yes, but instead in what state could she find the answer.
If you ask Ridley, she would tell you that a close friend of hers went through all the correct steps.
“She has a partner, she was safe with her partner. They used protection. It broke, and then she also took a Plan B, and that failed,” said Ridley. “So, we said okay, what are our options here?”
She found her answer across state lines.
“Luckily, my friend has the resources and the finances to be able to take a day off work. We drove to Illinois,” said Ridley.
The three and a half hours is how long Ridley spent in the car — on a journey that used to take just minutes.
“If somebody needs help, that’s our job as other humans to help them,” said Ridley. “How do I spread information that’s correct, so that other women that need resources know that they’re not by themselves because a lot of women don’t know what to do, now that we’re in this situation now. How do I help these young women? How do I help people who don’t have resources?”
For Ridley, the answer has come through support. Her close friend isn’t the only person who has reached out for answers on how to navigate options for abortions after Roe v. Wade was overturned in the Supreme Court.
Tennessee has now been labeled as having some of the strictest laws when it comes to abortion. Now, a new study by Vanderbilt University shows 75% of Tennessee voters think abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest.
News 2, asked Governor Bill Lee to respond to the poll and whether or not he would consider adding exceptions.
“The law as it stands today, in my view, protects the life of the unborn, which is really the most important thing that we should do,” said Governor Lee. “It’s the most vulnerable, the unborn are, they deserve that protection, and the law gives them that. It does have exceptions for the life of the mother, for serious maternal health conditions. I’m satisfied with where the law is today.”
However, currently, there are no exceptions for the life of the mother within Tennessee law.
In that same Vanderbilt poll, 62% of Republicans support exceptions, including State Senator Richard Briggs, who has said he is open to changing the law. Since then, the group Tennessee Right to Life has pulled its endorsement of him.