by Steven Ertelt
January 9, 2008
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — A Tennessee Senate committee has advanced a measure to amend the state’s constitution and nullify a state Supreme Court decision misusing the privacy clause in the state’s constitution to create an unlimited right to abortion. The bill’s passage is necessary to put more limits on abortions in place or ban them someday.
On their first day back in session, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure and sent it to the full Senate for a debate and vote.
Sen. Diane Black, a Republican who is sponsoring the bill, told the Tennessean that he’s "passionate" about the bill.
"I have no intent to make this an issue for campaigns" he said, refusing pro-abortion criticism that it’s an election-year ploy. "There may be others who choose to use this for those purposes. That is not my purpose."
That the measure received such a quick approval isn’t surprising given that the Senate has approved it repeatedly before. In 2006, the full Senate signed off on the idea on a 24-9 vote but a House subcommittee killed the measure, as it has done in the past.
This year, state Rep. Lois DeBerry, a Memphis Democrat and the House speaker pro tem, says she thinks the same committee that rejected the amendment in 2006 will do so again this year.
The amendment says that "nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion."
It will go to voters for their approval but only after the state legislature approves it by a two-thirds vote in two consecutive legislative sessions. The legislature hasn’t approved it once yet.
In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that the Tennessee Constitution contains a fundamental abortion right even broader than Roe v. Wade or the federal constitution.
The decision ended up striking down numerous pro-life Tennessee laws that were helping women and limiting abortions.
"The people of Tennessee deserve a voice in our state’s public policy regarding abortion," Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, told LifeNews.com previously.
"Decisions on abortion regulation should be decided by the Legislature, not activist pro-abortion judges. We will continue to do everything in our power to bring about a public vote for the restoration of common sense pro-life policies," said Harris.
In 2003, 14,933 abortions were reported performed on women residing in Tennessee. In 2004, the number dropped to 13,902, a 6.9% decline or 1,031 fewer abortions.
Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life – https://tennesseerighttolife.org