Planned Parenthood targets Democratic lawmaker over fetal heartbeat bill

Updated: Jun. 6, 2019 at 4:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Planned Parenthood has announced a targeted ad campaign against State Representative John DeBerry from Memphis.

DeBerry voted in favor of a bill banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected this legislative session.

“Today, we are kicking off a billboard campaign to help inform more people about his stance,” said Francie Hunt, Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood executive director.

The group is sponsoring a billboard and also asking voters to text “BAD REP” to 22422 for more on his anti-abortion record.

“He voted to criminalize abortion,” said Hunt.

“There should never be a situation where Representative DeBerry has been allowed to be comfortable with what he has done,” said Norma Lester, Democratic Women of Shelby County president.

DeBerry voted yes to a fetal heartbeat bill in the Tennessee house.

However, the senate stalled the measure by sending it to a summer study committee.

Memphis Democratic Representative Joe Towns also voted yes.

Planned Parenthood pulled their endorsement of him earlier this spring.

Advocates say they are now targeting DeBerry over what they termed, “a pattern of behavior.”

“If this is what the political arm of Planned Parenthood wants to do for their constituents, then I think the people will have to make a choice,” said DeBerry.

DeBerry represents House District 90, which cuts through the heart of Memphis.

The 25-year lawmaker and pastor says constituents have continued to send him to Nashville, knowing his views on abortion.

“It has always been an issue of genocide, black genocide I wonder as African Americans what we don't understand about the term minority,” said DeBerry.

DeBerry says he expects to seek one more term in 2020 and ultimately, voters have the final say.

“They're only targeting me because I'm the most conservative,” said DeBerry.

Shelby County Democratic leaders said efforts to recruit a primary challenger for DeBerry in 2020 have not started yet.

The fetal heartbeat bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate summer study in Nashville in August.

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