By Dave Andrusko
Tuesday was a banner day for women and unborn children in Tennessee. There were strong favorable votes in support of informed consent, a 48 hour waiting for women and girls considering abortion, and a requirement that abortion facilities be inspected and licensed by the Tennessee Department of Health. Each have widespread public support. Each is an example of commonsense protective legislation.
Not only did each proposal pass comfortably, they were approved by super-majorities in both the state House and state Senate and will soon be headed to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature. The statutes are scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2015.
The bills come largely in response to voter passage of Amendment 1 last November. As NRL News Today reported [see nrlc.cc/1DJL0cZ and nrlc.cc/1zHyYNw], the passage of Amendment 1 culminated a 14-year-long battle to address a 2000 decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court holding that “A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.” As a result of that 4-1 decision, a bevy of commonsense pro-life measures were immediately stricken.
Amendment 1 allows the people and elected officials more leeway in the regulation of abortion facilities in Tennessee. Weaker abortion laws in Tennessee have contributed to large numbers of out-of-state women seeking to terminate pregnancies which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, has resulted in Tennessee becoming an abortion destination in which of 1 of 4 abortions was sought by a woman or girl from another state.
“Tennessee Right to Life thanks the people of Tennessee who supported Amendment 1 and the many legislative sponsors and supporters of these bills to protect the health and safety of women and girls,” said Brian Harris, the organization’s president. “Children will now be given a better chance at life because their mothers and families had the extra time and opportunity to make fully informed decisions.”
Today’s losers? “Those who profit from unregulated abortion in Tennessee,” said Harris. Winners? “Women, girls and families are empowered by the requirement that adequate and accurate information is provided to assure careful decisions to protect health and life in our state.”