June 13, 2014
This past January, The Macon County Times ran a front page feature about Amendment 1. That article covered the history of a suit brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU against the State of TN in the year 2000, which resulted in the overturning of many guardian statutes in TN regarding how abortions are done in this state. The TN Supreme Court, as some Tennesseans may recall, ruled that there is a universal right to abortion (without regulations, without question) implied in the TN constitution.
The result of that ruling was the discontinuance of several common sense safety regulations including a required waiting period, informed consent and required hospitalization for second and third trimester abortions. Another law followed, rescinding the required inspection and licensing of TN abortion clinics. Until 2000, those guardian statutes that had been put in place by a Democratic TN Congress had been serving as protection for our women and girls for almost 30 years.
With that January feature article, the Times sought to spotlight Amendment 1 and to include this history. Without this background information it is difficult to understand why we even need Amendment 1. In a county such as Macon, with a large majority of pro-life voters, you would think this information would be common knowledge, but I can assure you, it is not. I have spoken to dozens of civic groups and churches in Macon County and almost no one, even those who are strongly pro-life, know the situation concerning TN abortion law.
Because our laws are so lax, we have become an abortion destination and over 25% of the abortions done in TN are on girls and women from out-of-state. The eight states surrounding Tennessee still have their guardian laws in place. We have become the central “abortion on demand” place to go.
When Tennesseans become aware of this they are appalled and outraged. The court of 2000, which struck down our protective statutes, acted as House and Senate and without the consent of the people of TN. Adding insult to injury, the action was ill-reported and did not receive the intense press exposure which such a profound change of direction was due. As a result, many Tennesseans still believe our laws and statutes in this state provide fair and reasonable safety measures for women and girls considering abortion.
As chapter leader of Macon County Right to Life, all my volunteer efforts for the next four months will be to inform Macon County citizens that a “yes” vote on Amendment 1 is a pro-life vote.
If passed, Amendment 1 will not, as some suppose or assume, make abortion illegal; Roe v. Wade is a federal law and will still be in place in all fifty states. Amendment 1 will, however, allow the citizens of TN, through their representatives in Nashville, to decide how they want the law to be carried out in their own state.
If ever there was a time to register to vote, register early, plan to vote and VOTE, it is now.
This issue is basic to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and it belongs to all of us and our families. Let freedom be a real choice.