Tennessee Pro-Life Constitutional Amendment May Be Reconsidered
by Steven Ertelt
March 26, 2004
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life constitutional amendment that would guarantee that the privacy clause of the state constitution could not be used to create an unlimited right to abortion was thought dead, but now it may be reconsidered.
The proposal died in the state Senate when legislators added rape and incest exceptions to it. The amendment’s sponsor, state Sen. David Fowler said on Thursday that he is crafting a compromise version that accomplishes the original intent of the measure while satisfying those senators.
The key, Fowler says, is to take any decision about abortion law away from judges who only want to legislate abortion.
The state Senate is expected to take up the revised measure on Wednesday.
The president of Tennessee Right to Life told LifeNews.com he hopes Fowler succeeds.
"[P]ro-life Tennesseans are working hard to secure the two needed commitments from pro-life Democrats who abandoned the unborn and Tennessee Right to Life with their indefensible support for hostile gutting amendments to SJR 127," TRTL’s Brian Harris said.
Harris said, "The people of this state — not activist judges — [should] determine this state’s abortion policy."
Fowler said he thought he would have two more votes for the revised resolution, but that he would not push forward unless he knew he had enough votes to pass it. He hopes to get the pro-life resolution on the 2006 ballot.
The amendment came as a response to decisions by the Tennessee Supreme Court that misused the privacy clause in the state constitution to guarantee an unlimited abortion right and strike down pro-life legislation.
Harris said his group would hold Sen. Charlotte Burks, sponsored of the rape and incest exceptions, accountable for defeating the bill in the first place. His group is also focusing on Lt. Governor Wilder, "who has publicly blamed Tennessee Right to Life."
"Grassroots pro-life workers have successfully canvassed the pro-life districts of Burks and Wilder distributing literature door to door, in churches and businesses explaining the need for the constitutional amendment and urging constituents to contact the legislators," Harris explained.
In an effort to further demonstrate broad pro-life support among women, TRTL will host its first "Pro-Life Women’s Day on the Hill" this Tuesday, March 30. A luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the historic Hermitage Hotel with pro-life state Rep. Donna Rowland as guest speaker.
The Hermitage Hotel was also the site where suffragists met to organize prior to Tennessee becoming the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920.
ACTION: Contact your state senator at (615) 741-3011 with your views on the amendment.