Tennessee voters have given the Volunteer State a chance to enact the kind of pro-life laws that have dropped abortions to historic lows in state after state across the nation.
They approved Amendment 1 to help ensure nothing in the state constitution could be used to secure an unlimited right to abortion. With 86% of the vote counter, Amendment 1 won with a 54-46 percent margin.
The amendment is necessary because the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled 4-1 in 2000 that the state constitution allows unlimited abortions. It is necessary, pro-life advocates say, to be able to pass laws to limit and reduce abortions. The ruling claimed the Tennessee Constitution contains a fundamental abortion right even broader than Roe v. Wade or the federal constitution and it resulted in the striking down of numerous pro-life Tennessee laws that were helping women and limiting abortions.
Subsequently the 2000 ruling was also used as precedent to strike state law requiring the inspection, regulation and licensure of abortion facilities in Tennessee, he explained. All of those pro-life protections — which have reduced abortions in some states by as much as 50 percent — could be restored now that the amendment has been approved
Brain Harris, the Tennessee Right to Life president, told LifeNews previously that the 2000 ruling in Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist made it so “common sense protections were immediately stripped from state law books including informed consent for women considering abortion, a 48 hour waiting period and a requirement that second and third trimester abortions be performed in regulated hospitals rather than out-patient abortion facilities.”
“We are grateful to God and to the good people of Tennessee for this victory,” Harris said. “Despite millions of abortion dollars flooding our airwaves with deceptive ads, the people of Tennessee saw through the falsehoods and made their voices heard.”
Harris told LifeNews that Yes on 1 coordinated a statewide grassroots campaign heavy on volunteers and smaller financial contributions from individuals, churches and pro-life organizations.
“We recognized that we would never have the financial resources of the abortion industry so began planning long ago to build a team of advocates who could educate and organize their local communities,” Harris said. “That effort paid off, especially in rural regions of the state where volunteers raised funds and awareness of both the amendment and the 2000 court ruling in Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v Sundquist, a decision which claimed a fundamental right to abortion.”
Harris also gave special credit to clergy and religious leaders throughout the state who made support for the Amendment a priority.
“In the end this could be characterized as pastors and pulpits in opposition to Planned Parenthood’s abortion-profiteering. We owe a debt of gratitude to men and women of faith who refused to accept Tennessee’s designation as an abortion destination and who actively used their influence to promote the protection of innocent human life.”
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The text of the amendment returns authority for abortion regulation to the people of Tennessee and their state legislators and reads as follows: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”.