Attorney general says partial abortion a crime in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's attorney general says that performing a late-term abortion procedure is already banned in the state by federal law.

Attorney General Bob Cooper's opinion comes after lawmakers questioned whether they could impose state restrictions on the procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion without violating the state's constitution. Cooper said in an earlier opinion that such a state ban would likely be illegal.

The state Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Tennessee Constitution offers greater protection for abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution, and threw out several restrictions on abortions that had been enacted by the Legislature.

Abortion opponents are trying to change the state constitution to void the Supreme Court ruling.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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