Senate Again Passes SJR 127, Sends to Pro-Life House: Bi-partisan Super Majority Approves Resolution to Allow Public Vote in 2014

Editor’s note. The following comes from Tennessee Right to Life with a couple of additional paragraphs tacked on at the end by me to help those who may not be familiar with the situation.

Brian Harris, President of Tennessee Right to Life

Just as they did in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009, members of Tennessee’s state Senate overwhelmingly passed SJR 127, a pro-life resolution calling for a public vote to undo a radical pro-abortion ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000 which established a so-called ‘right to abortion’ in the Tennessee Constitution.

As a result of the 2000 ruling in Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist, 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.

Subsequently the 2000 ruling was also used as precedent to strike state law requiring the inspection, regulation and licensure of abortion facilities in Tennessee.

“Tennessee’s pro-life senators, led by Senator Mae Beavers, deserve great credit for staying the course and keeping the focus for more than a decade on restoring common sense protections which were stripped away by activist state court judges,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. “Tennessee is a pro-life state and it’s only appropriate that the people of Tennessee—not a handful of judges—decide what protections will be enacted for women and children in our state,” said Harris.

 Here are a few added details, according to the Tennessee Commercial Appeal newspaper.

* A two-thirds vote in the state Senate was required. Supporters secured 3/4ths–24-8.

* If the state House approves the resolution by the required 2/3rds majority, as is expected, the resolution will be on the November 2014 general election ballot.

* The language of the resolution reads, “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.”

* In its 4-1 decision, the state Supreme Court found that “the Tennessee Constitution contains a stronger right to privacy and abortion than the U.S. Constitution and that the restrictions lawmakers had previously imposed violated those rights.” The “restrictions” are, as noted by Tennessee RTL, commonsense limitations.

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