NRL News

More than meets the eye in important battle over Tennessee’s proposed constitutional amendment

by | Oct 29, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

yeson1ccNext Tuesday more is at stake than control of the United States Senate, important as it is. One example is Tennessee’s “Amendment 1,” which is on the ballot and is intended to neutralize a 2000 ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In that 4-1 ruling the Court found, “A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.” As a result, Tennessee now boasts a broader right to abortion than that recognized by Roe v. Wade or the U.S. Constitution.

The proposed language to be added says, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

The outcome was always going to be close simply because opponents—led (of course) by Planned Parenthood–have vastly outspent proponents. They have demagogued the supposed impact of Amendment 1 in a fashion that is shameful even by pro-abortion standards.

That it will be nip and tuck was borne out by morning’s Tennessean. The newspaper carries a short story headlined, “Poll: Amendment 1 abortion vote ‘too close to call.’”

In it we learn that a poll released by Middle Tennessee State University today found 39% supportive, 32% opposed, with 15% still undecided. (According to Joey Garrison, “Eight percent of respondents said they won’t vote and 6 percent did not answer.”)

Three quick points. First, there is the sweeping impact of the 2000 decision. Common sense pro-life protections were immediately stripped from state law books, including informed consent for women considering abortion, a 48-hour waiting period and requirements that second trimester abortions be performed in equipped and regulated hospitals rather than abortion facilities.

This ruling was subsequently used to justify striking down the Tennessee law which had required licensure, inspection, and regulation of abortion facilities the same as other outpatient surgical facilities.

Second, to pass, the proposed amendment must get 50% of everyone who cast a ballot for governor, not 50% of those who voted on the amendment itself. That means if a voter casts a ballot for governor but does not vote for Amendment 1, it is the same as a “no” vote.

And third, there is more than meets the eye in the fight over Amendment 1. Tennessee has become a haven for out of state women coming to have their abortions. Citing CDC data, reporter Anita Wadhwani wrote, “One in four abortions in 2010 was sought by an out-of-state woman.” All this while the overall number of abortions has been going down!

That is why a genuinely hysterical piece that ran in the British newspaper, The Guardian, dubbed Tennessee as the “’last lifeboat’ of abortion rights in US south.”

Last week we reprinted a first-rate story about the proposed amendment from the October digital edition of National Right to Life News written by NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon. Here’s the opening:

For all its talk of “letting women decide,” Planned Parenthood is putting more than $1.6 million into an effort in Tennessee to keep decisions about abortion laws in the hands of five unelected state supreme court justices rather than let voters determine, through their elected representatives, what sort of protections there will be for unborn children and their mothers considering abortion.

The focus is on a constitutional amendment—“Amendment 1”—on this fall’s ballot, a response to a 2000 decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court. If approved, it would stop the court from invalidating laws passed by state legislature related to abortion, in the name of “privacy.” Not surprisingly, abortion giant Planned Parenthood is heavily invested in defending its lucrative abortion business and is committed to seeing the measure fail. …

This $1,533,640 from just those regional Planned Parenthood affiliates represents nearly 80% of Vote NO’s contributions for the year!

Take a few minutes to read the analysis provided by Dr. O’Bannon (a native of Tennessee). And, if you live in the Volunteer State, be sure to vote in favor of Amendment 1.

Categories: Abortion