Pro-life supporters launch campaign to pass “Amendment 1” to Tennessee Constitution

Guests at Yes on 1 reception

Guests at Yes on 1 reception

One year ahead of election day November 2014, pro-life advocates in Tennessee are kicking off efforts to pass an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution, a pro-life amendment which would nullify a 2000 decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court which wrongly claimed a “fundamental right to abortion” in the state Constitution.

At a benefit dinner last week hosted by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, more than $250,000 was raised for the Yes on 1 campaign, an effort being developed to win public approval of the proposed amendment.

“This will be a hard fight and we can be sure that our opponents are going to do everything possible to defeat the amendment,” Ramsey told reporters. “Being pro-life, however, I obviously want to do everything possible to see that we run a strong campaign and restore the ability of Tennessee voters to protect the most basic right of all, the fundamental right to life.”

The Yes on 1 campaign comes after more than a decade of work to elect pro-life state legislators and to pass resolutions required to place the proposed amendment on the ballot for public vote.

 Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

“To amend the Tennessee Constitution, separate sessions of the General Assembly must each pass the amendment language; first by a simple majority of legislators in each chamber, and then by a super-majority in the next legislative session,” explained Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. “Once that threshold is met, the proposed language is placed on the ballot for public vote during the next gubernatorial election. In Tennessee, that election falls in November of 2014.”

Pro-life groups, led by Tennessee Right to Life, are taking nothing for granted and are focused on raising funds as well as identifying and training grassroots leaders throughout the state to promote passage of the amendment in 2014.

“Tennessee is a strongly pro-life state but we must ensure that every community, church and civic leader understands the urgency and meaning of Amendment 1 so that each voter is prepared to cast their pro-life vote,” said Harris. A result of those educational efforts was demonstrated earlier this week when delegates to the Tennessee Baptist Convention, meeting in Chattanooga, voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution urging members to “work vigorously toward the passage of pro-life Amendment 1.”

“Tennesseans favor protection for the unborn and provision for their mothers,” Harris said. “But it’s the responsibility of grassroots pro-life advocates throughout our state to help Tennessee say ‘Yes to life’ by voting ‘Yes on 1.’”