On election night, Tennessee voters gave 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. But, now, abortion activists are trying to overturn that pro-life victory.
Tennessee voters approved Amendment 1 to help ensure nothing in the state constitution could be used to secure an unlimited right to abortion. With 100% of the vote counted, Amendment 1 won with a 53-47 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.
Now, claiming that voter rights were violated and that ballots were not accurately counted in Tuesday’s election, pro-abortion opponents of Amendment 1 have filed suit in federal court asking for the results to be nullified.
The Yes on 1 campaign responded and called the lawsuit one more example of pro-abortion activists refusing to trust the “common sense and compassion” of Tennesseans who voted to approve Amendment 1 on November 4.
“Amendment 1 was passed with a decisive majority of Tennesseans casting a vote to approve the language,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life and a coordinator for Yes on 1. “Even if you wrongly discount those who may have voted for Amendment 1 but not in the Governor’s race, there is still a margin of almost 20,000 votes in favor of the amendment.”
“Rather than accept defeat, Planned Parenthood and the nation’s pro-abortion movement are willing to disenfranchise Tennessee voters in order to ensure that Tennessee remains an abortion destination with uninspected, unlicensed abortion facilities,” said Harris. “That was unacceptable on election day and it remains so days after the passage of Amendment 1.”
Harris told LifeNews he remains confident that the pro-abortion lawsuit is a waste of resources and that courts will recognize the clear majority of voters who supported passage of Amendment 1.
“We are moving forward to prepare legislation that will restore common sense protections in our state and which reflect the will of the voters as clearly demonstrated in Tuesday’s election,” said Harris. “To do otherwise would be an abdication of the trust placed in us by Tennessee’s electorate.”
In 2000, the court 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.
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.”.