By Dave Andrusko
There’s been a lot of attention paid to last Tuesday’s passage of Tennessee’s Amendment 1. National Right to Life News Today talked about the constitutional amendment last Wednesday.
Let’s come back today to see why there has been so much interest—beyond the usual end-of-the-world pro-abortion hysteria which we will allude to in passing. Along the way I hope you grasp just how arduous the task was.
Amendment l’s key wording is in the beginning: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” It was needed because in 2000 the Tennessee Supreme Court found, “A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.”
The sweeping impact was talked about occasionally before November 4, but it is very worth reiterating. Common sense pro-life protections were immediately stripped from state law books, including informed consent for women considering abortion, a 48-hour waiting period and requirements that second trimester abortions be performed in equipped and regulated hospitals rather than abortion facilities.
Tennessee became an abortion haven; one in four abortions is performed on women who live outside of the Volunteer State.
There is a reason it took 14 years to pass this amendment: Tennessee’s amendment process. It “requires a resolution to win approval by majority votes in one two-year term of the state legislature, then by two-thirds majorities of both legislative chambers in the following two-year term before it can be sent to a statewide referendum at the next gubernatorial election,” explained Richard Locker, a reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal back in 2011.
“It won Senate approval earlier this year and passed the House today on a bipartisan 76-18 vote – 10 more votes than required in the 99-member House,” he added.
And as we reported just prior to the mid-term elections, the amendment required voter approval by a majority of those voting in the governor’s election to become part of the Constitution. So if someone voted in the governor’s race but didn’t cast a “yes” vote on Amendment 1, it effectively was a “no.”
If those weren’t big enough hurtles, the abortion industry—Planned Parenthood alone poured in $1.6 million—vastly outspend proponents of Amendment 1. In other words, there needed to be a strong sentiment in order to prevail. There was!
And pro-abortionists are worried—correctly so—that Tennessee will move to enact commonsense pro-life laws. This could/should end the era of where pro-abortionists funnel women who live in states with protective laws into Tennessee.