A Time for Truth on Amendment 1

King Solomon said that there is a time for everything under the sun. And after watching some of propaganda against Amendment 1, it is time for a little truth. Here are some of the most blatant errors that need to have a little truth thrown on them.

Government Intrusion

One of the ads by a law professor (who is listed as Board Chair for Planned Parenthood in Middle Tennessee) says that Amendment 1 will “force governmental interference into private medical decisions.” As I noted last week, the Amendment does no such thing. It doesn’t force the state government to do anything. Some would dare call her statement an outright lie.

In fact, a national political website called it “the most dishonest ad this political season.” Pretty impressive work by Planned Parenthood’s Board Chair, considering how furiously folks are fighting over some of the U.S. Senate seats!

Informed Consent

Tennessee does not, in fact, have an abortion-related informed consent law like other states have. It was ruled unconstitutional by our State Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist.

What was it that Planned Parenthood didn’t like about our informed consent law that was so “burdensome” on a woman’s right to an abortion? Let me quote from the Supreme Court’s opinion:

“Planned Parenthood challenged the statutory requirement that before a woman consents to an abortion, her attending physician must orally inform her of certain information about the procedure and her options.”

I guess meeting with the woman is a “burden” because it would interrupt the profit stream that comes from the doctor being able to do one abortion after another without having potentially time-consuming meetings with the patient.

If you were going to have an irreversible and potentially life-changing surgery done on you, would you want to speak with the doctor? Of course. So why would we insist on meeting our doctor for other surgeries, but not for an abortion?

That Planned Parenthood would complain about the physician taking time to inform the woman about the procedure tells me a lot about how much I would want to trust them to tell women the truth.

And that exposes another assertion by Planned Parenthood. They say that Tennessee already has an informed consent law.

There is a statute that has nothing to do with abortion. It says that in a trial for medical malpractice, in order to “win,” the injured patient must proved that the “defendant” did not adequately inform the patient. The burden is on the patient, not the defendant, who happens to be the doctor—the doctor who Planned Parenthood successfully insisted should be freed from speaking with the patient.

But here’s the kicker and the reason states have abortion-related informed consent laws. That medical malpractice statute says that the information provided need only be “in accordance with the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice in the profession and in the specialty, if any, that the defendant practices in the community in which the defendant practices and in similar communities.” (emphasis added)

What that means is that the abortion doctors in a community get to decide what the standard is for what women should have to know. Since they don’t seem to like being slowed down long enough to inform the woman of the procedure and her options, do you really think someone’s going to take the time to be very thorough in explaining all the risks and options? And why would they explain to the woman anything about the developing fetus, since the plan is to destroy it anyway?

Clinic Licensing

Despite what Planned Parenthood would have you think, not all places that routinely provide abortion services are licensed and inspected by the state. Outpatient surgery centers are supposed to be licensed and inspected by the state. But when the state tried to apply those rules to a physician-owned and operated “abortion clinic” in Nashville, the doctor sued to have the rules declared unconstitutional. In 2002, he won. Enough said.


Maybe Planned Parenthood can live with its deception. But because of it, too many women are harmed and too many unborn children die. Say yes to the truth and say yes to Amendment 1.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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