The Senate approved and sent to Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday legislation that allows criminal prosecution for causing the death of "a human embryo or fetus at any stage of gestation in utero."
The bill (HB3517) marks the second change in two years to a law that since 1989 had it a crime to cause the death of a "viable fetus." That was changed last year to eliminate the word "viable."
Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, the sponsor, said legislators have since learned that, under the scientific definition of a fetus, the term only applies when eight weeks or more has passed since conception. Adding "embryo" covers from the moment of conception.
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