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Tennessee woman who was denied an abortion is running for office

Allie Phillips was denied a medically necessary abortion, and now her story is pushing her to run for Tennessee state office.
Tennessee woman who was denied an abortion is running for office
Posted at 6:02 PM, Oct 03, 2023

Her story describing how Tennessee's abortion ban traumatized her drew national attention. Now that story is pushing her to run for state office.

Allie Phillips announced Monday she's running for the Democratic nomination for Tennessee's House of Representatives District 75, a seat established last year and currently held by Republican Rep. Jeff Burkhart.

A lifelong Tennessean, Phillips says her experience trying to access a medically necessary abortion in the state pushed her to run.

"Because of the trauma Tennessee's ban has caused me, I have been dedicating my time to trying to change their barbaric law," she said in an announcement video. "I met with my representative only to find out how out of touch these politicians truly are. That is why I am now running for the Tennessee state House of Representatives, District 75."

Earlier this year, Phillips and her husband had been excitedly preparing to expand their family with a second daughter, who they had already named Miley Rose.

But at Phillips' 19-week routine anatomy exam, doctors shared Miley had multiple fetal anomalies. Another ultrasound four days later revealed multiple organs hadn't developed properly and that the fetus had a rare brain defect called semilobar holoprosencephaly, a condition in which the brain has failed to divide into two hemispheres.

SEE MORE: Women denied abortion care sue states over abortion bans

The doctor told Phillips her fetus was not compatible with life, and gave her two choices: Stay pregnant but put your life at risk, or go out-of-state to find an abortion provider due to a newly enacted ban in her home state, which has very few exceptions. She chose the second option, leaving her 6-year-old daughter back home in Clarksville while she flew to New York City for the procedure.

But upon arriving at the clinic, doctors informed Phillips the baby's heart had already stopped beating. Her body didn't recognize this, however, which put her at risk of infection, blood clots and sepsis. This required an emergency procedure.

Phillips shared her story on TikTok, garnering hundreds of thousands of likes and followers, with many commenting to show support for her during the tough time. 

Since the initial video, Phillips has shared her story dozens of times and has now become a vocal activist for abortion access, even joining the Center for Reproductive Rights' multi-state lawsuit challenging abortion bans as a plaintiff.

Phillips, who runs an in-home day care, said her biggest issue in her newly announced campaign will be reproductive health care, but she also wants to "keep guns out of schools," support public education funding, improve infrastructure and access to health care and boost LGBTQ+ rights in the state, including supporting gender-affirming care.

The primary election for the spot will be held Aug. 1, 2024. 

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