Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Abortion Care in Tennessee: Review the Law Guide to Understand Legal Actions

Abortion Care in Tennessee: Review the Law Guide to Understand Legal Actions

Review the Tennessee Medical Association's Legal News Roundup: Member Login Required to Access Law Guides



Abortion Law Guide 
Performing an abortion in Tennessee is illegal and considered a Class C felony unless an exception exists. In 2024, the federal government published a HIPAA Privacy rule amendment to protect access to reproductive health care information and the Tennessee General Assembly created a new abortion-related offense – abortion trafficking of a minor. Review our Law Guide topics, Abortion and Abortion FAQs to fully understand the abortion laws and access to reproductive health care information in Tennessee. Review our Law Guide topics, Abortion and Abortion FAQs to fully understand the abortion law in Tennessee.

Medical Licensing boards seeking to “make an example” out of prescribing to self/family
The TMA legal department received contacts from three members during the month of April regarding investigations or formal charges brought against them by the medical licensing boards around the physicians self-prescribing or prescribing for family members. One member was reportedly told that the licensing board’s medical consultant “wanted to make an example” out of the prescriber. Both the MD and DO licensing boards have formal policies addressing self and family member prescribing and the BME has adopted the AMA Code of Ethics (Op. 1.2.1). The technical “gotcha” violation is failure to keep medical records on family member patients. 

While the boards’ policies as written seem to allow treatment of immediate family members only in “minor, self-limited, short-duration illnesses, or emergency situations,” in some instances the boards seem to hold physicians to strict liability even if the family member prescriptions were for non-controlled substances for minor short-term type conditions. Click here to access the policy for medical doctors and click here for the policy for osteopathic physicians. At this time, the TMA legal department cautions physicians NOT to prescribe medications to immediate family members for minor, self-limited, short-duration illnesses; only for emergencies, and to keep a medical record on the encounter.

Consent Order – Licensing Board
Take Steps to Avoid the Consent Order License Pitfall
Often, at the same time the State Department of Health threatens to file charges to discipline a health professional’s license, its lawyers will offer up an “agreed order” or “consent order” to settle the matter. They tout that agreeing to its terms will allow you to “avoid a hearing”. You may think it is cheaper just to sign it and move on. TMA’s general counsel formerly prosecuted medical board and other disciplinary cases and offers the following guidance:

Do not sign any agreed order without first consulting a health care lawyer with experience in these matters. The proposed charges may be inaccurate. There may be alternative discipline that is not reportable to the National Practitioner Databank (NPDB) that can be worked out. Reportable disciplinary action must be explained throughout your career for hospital credentialing, other state licenses, med mal insurance coverage, and health plan networks. There is a useful “screening panel” process available to resolve cases short of a hearing. The TMA legal department has a list of lawyers with experience in health disciplinary cases. Contact for the list.

New Laws from the 2024 General Assembly
Some of the laws enacted by the 2024 General Assembly are already effective or will be effective on July 1st and may be of special interest to physicians since they could require action or impose a duty to report. You may access a summary of these laws by clicking here.

Treatment of Minors Guide
TMA created this resource based on logging years of calls to the legal department from pediatric and other medical practices with questions regarding the treatment of minor patients and the rights and duties of parents and guardians for minors under their legal responsibility. The 2024 Tennessee General Assembly passed several laws (duty to warn, vaccine consent, vaccine coercion) that physicians treating minors should know about as it might impact your practice. Click here to access the guide.

Collaborating Physician Toolkit
Our toolkit will help you stay in compliance with regulations governing your role as a physician collaborating with an advanced practice registered nurse or physician assistant. Go to to access this toolkit.  

Overdose & Wound Reporting
Tennessee law requires health care providers to report certain wounds and injuries to law enforcement and in 2022 the legislature added fatal drug overdose to the list of wounds and injuries that must be reported. Review the Law Guide topic, Wound and Overdose Reporting, to ensure you comply with this law.

Title Identification LG topic
Tennessee law requires a healthcare professional to display his/her license, post a sign at the building entrance, and communicate his/her license during every patient visit. See our Law Guide topic, Title Identification – Communicating Credentials to Patients, to fully understand all requirements.



For more information, email