Tennessee Senate Prepares to Debate Pro-Life Constitutional Amendment
by Steven Ertelt
March 2, 2004
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — The Tennessee state Senate is preparing to debate a pro-life constitutional amendment that would neutralize a provision in the state constitution that the Tennessee Supreme Court misused to declare an unlimited right to abortion and overturn pro-life laws that limit abortions in the state.
The amendment, sponsored by Sen. David Fowler, R-Signal Mountain, says that nothing in the state constitution, including a privacy clause, can be used to guarantee a right to abortion.
Earlier, the proposal received approval from a Senate committee, but only after an amendment was added declaring that a right to abortion exists in cases of rape and incest.
Fowler says he will ask the full Senate to remove the amendment before passing the bill.
Pro-life groups are ready to pull out all the stops to get the measure through the state legislature.
"We’re moving forward and pro-life Tennesseans have the momentum," says Tennessee Right to Life president Brian Harris. "However, our opponents are also gearing up and we can’t grow complacent if we are to succeed in passing SJR 127 through the full senate in coming days."
The pro-life resolution was given preliminary approval without debate, but it requires two more votes before it can be sent to the state House. The full Senate was expected to vote a second time this week on the proposal, but a vote won’t likely occur until sometime next week.
The amendment was added in Senate Finance Committee and was only narrowly approved on a 6-5 vote when Senator Bill Clabough (R-Maryville) joined pro-abortion senators to support its attachment. Harris’ group opposed the amendment.
The amendment "opens loopholes which provide opportunity for policy decisions regarding abortion to be determined once again by activist, pro-abortion judges rather than the legislature — which is directly accountable to the people of Tennessee," Harris explained.
The Senate has approved the legislation before, but the real battle will be in the state House. Democratic Rep. Mike Turner of Old Hickory is the House sponsor.
The amendment requires approval of two-thirds of the state legislature in each of two subsequent legislative sessions. Once that happens, the proposal goes to voters.
ACTION: Contact your state Senator by going to https://www.legislature.state.tn.us/senate/members/smembers.htm and express your views on this pro-life measure.
Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life – https://www.tnrighttolife.org