Having lost in lower courts Planned Parenthood & allies ask Supreme Court to hear their challenge to “Amendment 1”
For most Tennessee voters, pro-life Amendment 1 was decided on November 4, 2014, when it was approved 53-47%. But several days later former Planned Parenthood board chair Tracey George joined 7 other pro-abortion activists in filing a legal challenge in federal court . They were contesting the manner in which the state tabulated the votes and claimed discrimination against pro-abortion voters.
In April 2016, then- U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp agreed with Planned Parenthood and ordered a recount of the votes. In his ruling, Sharp threatened to throw out the votes of those Tennesseans who chose to cast a vote on Amendment 1 but not in the governor’s race between pro-life incumbent Bill Haslam and Charles Brown.
Appealed by the Tennessee Attorney General, the case ultimately made its way to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which heard oral arguments in August of 2017. Tennessee Right to Life and YES on 1 coordinated a “friend of the Court” brief containing the signatures of 8,850 Tennesseans urging the court to uphold their votes on the Amendment.
A three judge panel of the 6th Circuit issued its unanimous ruling on January 9, 2018, in support of the vote count saying, “… it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people’s 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest.”
Planned Parenthood activists immediately sought a re-hearing of the case before the full 6th Circuit which rejected the request. Now Tennessee’s pro-abortion leaders are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up their challenge of the people’s pro-life vote on Amendment 1.
“Tennessee’s pro-life movement won a watershed victory for the unborn in 2014, one that other states will try to replicate in the years ahead,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life said,
“Pro-life Tennesseans, however, must be resolute not only in our commitment to defending this victory, but also to being measured in the introduction of new laws that can’t yet be held as constitutional under existing court precedent,” added Harris. “Equally important is the election of a pro-life Governor and pro-life legislative super-majorities who understand where we’ve been as a movement, where we want to go, and how to best get there.”