Tennessee Pro-Life Constitutional Amendment Will Get Vote on Thursday
by Steven Ertelt
March 9, 2004
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — A constitutional amendment that would make sure the Tennessee state constitution can’t be used to guarantee a right to abortion will get a vote in the Tennessee state Senate on Thursday. Yesterday, senators voted to remove exceptions for rape and incest that were added to the amendment in committee and opposed by the state’s leading pro-life group.
The amendment, sponsored by Sen. David Fowler, R-Signal Mountain, says that nothing in the state constitution can be used to guarantee a right to abortion. It comes as a response to a Tennessee Supreme Court decision that misused the privacy clause to guarantee abortion and overturn pro-life laws limiting it.
Fowler said he expects to have the votes necessary to pass the resolution.
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.
After two hours of Debate on Monday, senators removed the rape and incest exceptions from the measure.
They replaced it with language put forward by Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville) saying the legislature should set the abortion policy for the state and that language regarding abortion should not be included in the state constitution.
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."
Harris’ group opposed the rape and incest exceptions that were added to the bill.
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 pro-life resolution was given preliminary approval by the Senate last week without debate, but it requires two more votes before it can be sent to the state House.
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 (SJR 127).
Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life – https://www.tnrighttolife.org