Tennessee Pro-Life Resolution on Abortion Needs One Vote for Comeback
by Steven Ertelt
April 19, 2004
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life amendment in the Tennessee legislature to ensure that the state constitution doesn’t create an unlimited right to abortion has faced numerous hurdles through the legislative process. After being killed by an irrelevant state House committee, the leading sponsor now needs just one vote in his bid to revive the proposal.
Last week, the House Public Health and Family Assistance Subcommittee debated the amendment for over an hour and then voted against it 5-4.
Pro-life groups blamed state House leaders for assigning the bill to an unrelated committee. Tennessee Right to Life expected the measure to be debated in the Judiciary Committee’s Constitutional Protections subcommittee.
But State Rep. Mike Turner, a Democrat, is hoping to use a procedural motion to bring the pro-life proposal up in the full House Health Committee on Tuesday.
Turner needs 12 votes and has only 11 so far. If Turner can’t find one more vote, he told the Nashville City Paper he wouldn’t move forward with the discharge petition.
The pro-life proposal says: "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or the funding thereof. The legislature shall have the sole authority to make and shall make such provisions for abortions as it determines reasonably necessary for victims of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother."
The constitutional 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.
"The people of this state — not activist judges — [should] determine this state’s abortion policy," Tennessee Right to Life president Brian Harris told LifeNews.com.
Earlier this month, the state Senate approved the proposal on a 23-6 vote, after first defeating it and adding exceptions for rape and incest to the measure.
ACTION: Contact members of the House Health committee and urge them to support Rep. Turner’s motion. You can find a list of members at https://www.legislature.state.tn.us/house/Committees/hcommemb.htm#hhr