When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Chloe Akers made it her mission to translate Tennessee's abortion ban. We discovered Chloe through Instagram (she was wearing HART in one of her viral videos and some our followers tagged us to let us know). We are so grateful for Chloe's work interpreting the real consequences of the Tennessee Trigger Ban and are proud to feature this bad-ass criminal defense attorney.
Tell us about your latest work and what's inspiring your most recent projects?
My current projects are almost entirely related to advancing women’s rights in my home state of Tennessee, particularly as it relates to healthcare and pregnancy. As a criminal defense attorney, I maintain a small practice, consulting with doctors across the state, advising them on ways to manage a post-Dobbs legal landscape. By giving providers the tools they need to anticipate legal issues in advance, I believe we can avoid delays in healthcare for pregnant women and keep them safe, especially during times of crisis and medical emergency.
I am also growing the nonprofit I founded earlier this summer, Standing Together Tennessee, Inc., and I look forward to engaging in more educational opportunities to empower all Tennesseans with greater knowledge around the Trigger Ban on Abortion.
Finally, I’m maintaining my Instagram account @cococakers) which up until two months ago had a whopping 142 followers. I have no meaningful experience with social media, but it has been amazing to have such an incredible platform to share information about urgent cultural concerns and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity.
I am constantly inspired by the power of women to mobilize and take care of one another. I believe communication, even when it’s hard, and maybe especially when it’s hard, is the key to progress. And women are amazing communicators. I’m pretty sure we’ll change the world.
You've been a powerful voice to women in your state (and across the nation) interpreting the Tennessee Trigger Ban. Can you tell us more about the Ban and what that means for women?
Unfortunately, the Tennessee Trigger Ban on Abortion does not contain any exception in the law. This means that every time a doctor terminates a pregnancy - even when it’s necessary as a form of life saving medical care - they are committing a crime. While our law does have an affirmative defense, doctors will first have to be arrested and charged before raising the defense at trial. This situation is terrifying for physicians and puts them in an untenable position where providing medical care subjects them to a potential loss of liberty. It’s even worse for their patients who are left wondering what may happen to them if they have a complication and need a termination, but can’t find a doctor to perform the procedure out of fear of being prosecuted.
It is a time of chaos and genuine terror in Tennessee, which has been a devastating thing to watch. As the proud aunt of identical twin boys - who are the loves of my life and the sweetest angels on the planet - I know how scary it can be as a family member on the sidelines hoping all goes well. My sister was so lucky to have incredible medical care. I hope that by changing this law and supporting physicians while we work through it, they will stay here in Tennessee and continue to provide amazing care for the women in my state.
I truly do believe that by raising awareness of the law and how it will function in practice, we can convince our legislature to make changes, allowing for exceptions in cases of medical emergency and for when women have been the victims of rape, incest and emotional abuse and trauma. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.
I know it will be a long road and a tough fight, but it’s one worth fighting.
What does success mean to you?
I have always measured success in terms of authenticity - is what I’m doing bringing out the most genuine part of me? Do I feel alive and engaged or shut down and afraid? As long as I am being honest with myself and striving to do what makes me proud of who I am, I am successful. It’s been the times in my life when I give in to someone else’s idea of who I should be that I feel like a failure, even if on the outside I looked like I had it all. Over the years I’ve learned that living for who you are, and being proud of that, is truly success.
What are your character traits you are most proud of?
I think probably my loyalty and passion for fairness and justice. I’ve been this way since I was a little kid. I was always very self-possessed and I knew I had a big voice. I didn’t like confrontation in my own life, but if I saw someone being bullied or pushed around, I unleashed. I think it started in the third grade, and it just never really stopped.
What quotation/motto inspires you to be your best self?
It’s a long one, but a good one. Thanks to Brene Brown, this Theodore Roosevelt quotation sits on my desk. Right next to a framed picture of my other guiding light, Heather McMahan, who always reminds me to laugh and remember I was a Delta Gamma and am therefore worthy of all things wonderful.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Do you have a favorite album/artist or playlist that you love to listen to while you work/create?
The trifecta: Beyonce, Stevie Nicks, and Lizzo. With those three, I’m unstoppable.