by Steven Ertelt
January 14, 2008
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — Gov. Phil Bredesen isn’t taking much of a position on a measure to amend the state’s constitution and nullify a state Supreme Court decision misusing the privacy clause in it to create an unlimited right to abortion. Bredesen says he can’t do much about the amendment as governor one way or the other.
Bredesen is pro-abortion and he has come under fire from pro-life groups before for including funding for Planned Parenthood abortion centers in his state budget.
But the governor has no role in signing or vetoing the bill for a state constitutional amendment so he plans to largely stay out of the debate on it.
"As you know they don’t even come to my desk," Bredesen told The Associated Press. "They’re just something the legislature does, so I’ll just let them do their thing on that subject."
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.
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 enjoys the backing of Tennessee Right to Life, the leading state pro-life group.
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.
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