Proving again that every life has meaning and so does every vote, pro-life Tennesseans made the difference in many legislative races on Thursday helping to maintain and strengthen pro-life majorities in the Tennessee Legislature and U.S. Congress. 89% of candidates endorsed by Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee won their races. Additionally, several pro-life incumbents in the state House were defeated by pro-life challengers who are also expected to be strong leaders for the cause of life.
Of particular significance to Tennessee Right to Life is the re-election of longtime pro-life leader Diane Black whose record includes prime sponsorship of SJR 127, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood at the state and federal levels, and sponsorship of the 2009 state law making Tennessee’s Legislature the first to opt out of abortion funding mandates of Obamacare. Black won with nearly 70% of the vote in U.S. House District 6.
Among many important victories were the re-election of endorsed pro-life Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, state Representative Joshua Evans, sponsor of Tennessee’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and Dr. Joey Hensley’s primary win for the new 28th district state Senate seat. Hensley sponsored efforts in the House to defund Planned Parenthood and will face Democratic opposition in the November election.
Other primary victories included Ben Claybaker vying to replace retiring pro-abortion state Representative Janis Sontany in Nashville and pro-life veteran Debra Moody to replace retiring pro-abortion Jimmy Naifeh in West Tennessee. Moody is a longtime supporter of Tennessee Right to Life and serves as Board Chair for one of the state’s leading life-affirming pregnancy resource centers located in Covington.
Also underscoring the importance of every vote, endorsed pro-life state Senate candidate Todd Gardenhire is currently leading his opponent, Greg Vital, by just 40 votes from nearly 16,000 cast in the southeastern Tennessee district. Vital declined to return a candidate survey to Right to Life and was quoted as being “uncertain” in his views on the protection of human life.
Among pro-abortion losses on Thursday were state Senator Beverly Marrero and state Representative Jeannie Richardson, both of Memphis. Marrero and Richardson are strong supporters of Planned Parenthood and each used their position to vehemently oppose pro-life legislation in the state House and state Senate. Finally, the former Health sub-committee chair responsible for blocking SJR 127, pro-abortion Mary Pruett of Nashville was defeated in her Democratic primary.
Many important races will be decided in November. It is possible for as many as 80 state house seats and 28 state Senate seats to be won by pro-life advocates!
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LifeNews Note: Brian Harris is the president of Tennessee Right to Life.