State Representative Bryan Terry, MD was awarded the Family Champion Award by the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) for his voting record for families during the 109th Tennessee General Assembly (TGA). FACT scored the voting records of all members of the TGA for their support of families, pro-life issues, and religious liberty. By receiving a perfect score, Rep. Terry was recognized for his consistent support of families.
Commenting on winning the award, Rep. Terry said he has put his motto of “Principles, Process, and Passion” into practice at the Capitol. “When I first ran for office, I told the voters of District 48 that I would stand up for our liberties and values on principle. As each bill or issue has presented itself, I’ve looked to do just that. I’m honored to have received the award,” stated Dr. Terry. “But more than just standing on principle, I’m honored to be able to contribute to the process of creating positive legislation.”
As an ardent pro-life legislator, Dr. Terry co-sponsored Governor Haslam’s administration bill HB 2577 which establishes requirements for the disposition of fetal remains. The bill came about following last summer’s nationwide story of abortion facilities selling fetal tissue and body parts. However, beyond HB 2577, Rep. Terry continued looking into the issue and the Tennessee code to see if anything further needed to be addressed.
Rep. Terry drafted and sponsored HB 1654 which clarified that any consent for research or experiments on fetal tissue have written consent of the woman. As such, it would ensure that a paper trail exists. Additionally, the bill allows the taking of photographs of the aborted fetus without the woman’s consent if it is done for the purpose of capturing images that the person reasonably believes depict evidence of a violation of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation. This provision confers immunity for whistleblowers.
Aside from the legal purposes of HB 1654, the significance of the bill is that it it drew bipartisan support. The bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate and never received a “no” vote throughout the process. As the Republican Chairman of the Bipartisan Freshman Caucus, Rep. Terry expressed his satisfaction with accomplishing the feat on such a controversial issue. “I spoke with Tennessee Right to Life, the administration, and even Planned Parenthood on the issue. By working with all stakeholders, I was able to get their support. It proves that when you are willing to talk and listen to all sides, then sometimes you can find unanimous bipartisan agreement,” said Rep. Terry.
Another bill that FACT scored was HB 1840 which is otherwise known as the counseling bill. The bill allows counselor’s to refer patients to another counselor if the patient’s goals or behaviors conflict with a sincerely held principle of the counselor. Said Dr. Terry, “It wasn’t my bill, but since it was in my committee, I worked with both sides of that bill, too. I had drafted several amendments, but couldn’t get both to agree with all of my concerns. In the end, I got the bill sponsor to agree to work with me next session if any unintended consequences occur that harm patients.” By getting a commitment from the sponsor to protect patients and with the bill protecting the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the counselors, Rep. Terry voted for the bill.
“I know there is often a lot of emotion tied to these social issues. But I think it is important to set emotion aside until one works through the principles and process. Once you do that, then you can carry or promote the legislation with passion,” stated Rep. Terry. Dr. Bryan Terry is running for reelection as State Representative for District 48 and is currently unopposed in the August 4 primary.