By Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee sexual and reproductive health advocacy group is launching a billboard and digital ad campaign intended to show how COVID-19 has exposed inequality, according to a news release.

A billboard image released to media by Healthy & Free Tennessee reads, “End mass incarceration. Make parenthood and abortion accessible for everyone. Protect transgender youth.”

Efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Tennessee jails and prisons have have included releasing inmates who are in jail solely because they cannot afford bail. Criminal justice reform advocates have said changes like that one need to become permanent.

Gov. Bill Lee earlier tried to shut down surgical abortions to preserve personal protective equipment for COVID-19, but his executive order was overturned in federal court.

Meanwhile, Tennessee lawmakers marked their return to legislative offices this week by advancing an anti-transgender proposal that would require students athletes to play sports based on the sex identified on their birth certificates.

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