Rep. Diane Black is one of the pro-life women members of Congress who is a consistent pro-life voter and outspoken on he issue of protecting unborn babies from abortion. In a new column at the Tennessean newspaper, Black explains why it’s important for pro-life voters to support Amendment 1.
The Planned Parenthood abortion business is spending heavily to stop the Amendment, who would enable the Tennessee legislature to pass legislation that would protect women and save unborn children from abortions.
From my time in Congress to my years as a nurse in the emergency room of Hendersonville Hospital, I have seen firsthand the kindness and decency of Tennesseans. Sadly this compassion is not reflected in our state laws today, which work against the safety of women and the unborn.
In 2000, after a controversial Tennessee Supreme Court ruling nullified existing laws in place to protect the health of women seeking an abortion, Tennessee quickly became a destination state for this procedure — offering fewer protections for expectant mothers or the unborn than any of our eight bordering states. This is not compassionate nor is it reflective of the Tennessee values I have come to know. The good news is, this year we have an opportunity to change it.
As a state legislator, I sponsored Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 127, proposing an amendment to our state constitution so that elected representatives could put basic protections for women and unborn children back into place.
For me, the legislation was deeply personal. As an emergency room nurse, I treated a young woman who came to my hospital following complications with an abortion performed at a clinic that was not properly regulated. When the complications occurred, there was no answer at the after-hours number she called and by the time she reached me, there was nothing we could do to save her. She died that evening, but her life could have been spared if proper regulations had been in place to protect her well-being — protections that are banned under Tennessee law today but could be reinstated with the passage of this legislation.
SJR 127 ultimately passed both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly in 2011, earning the unanimous support of Republicans and also respected Democrats like Sen. Douglas Henry and Sen. Charlotte Burks. But this was only half the battle. Now the matter goes before all Tennessee voters in the form of Amendment 1, which will appear on the ballot this November. But the extreme, pro-abortion lobby will not let this common-sense amendment pass without a fight.
Already, one far-left group has slandered the measure as the “Taliban amendment,” and Planned Parenthood called the proposal “the next battleground in the war on women.” So as a woman, a nurse and the sponsor of this legislation, let me tell you the truth about Amendment 1.
Amendment 1 will not ban abortion in our state. It will instead give all Tennesseans a say by empowering our elected representatives to enact protections for women and unborn children that were wrongly struck down by unelected justices at the state Supreme Court. This includes informed-consent laws so that women know of any health risks associated with their abortion — a requirement that already exists for most other major surgeries — and regular inspections of abortion facilities to ensure compliance with health regulations.
Right now, the lack of proper safety regulations for abortion procedures has made Tennessee the state with the third-highest percentage of out-of-state abortions. Amendment 1 is not radical or extreme — this absurd status quo is. That is why this amendment puts our laws back in step with our principles and those of our neighboring states, and trusts that when it comes to decisions regarding life and abortion, Tennesseans know best.
This November, don’t believe the mischaracterizations and false attacks. A yes vote on Amendment 1 is the compassionate choice for Tennessee.