Over the last couple of years, several states have passed tough laws restricting abortion. Texas has been one of the chief “offenders” in the eyes of the abortion rights crowd. This week Texas made national news twice as a federal judge struck down its latest pro-life measure, then again when an appeals court reinstated some of the law’s restrictions. But this week, it became apparent that Tennessee is going to become the epicenter of the battle in America for life and death.
Tennessee has a strongly pro-life state legislature, but I bet you don’ hear a lot about our state passing laws like those in Texas. Maybe you have wondered why.
If so, here’s your answer. Since a state Supreme Court ruling in 2000, Tennessee has been one of only sixteen states in the nation with a state constitutional right to abortion. And our court’s ruling was the toughest of the bunch.
The results is that our state is the only state in the entire Southeast that does not have at least an abortion-specific informed consent law or a law requiring a waiting period between the information being given and the abortion procedure.
And because of the court’s ruling, we can’t have a meaningful informed consent law, or much of anything else. Legislatively, there’s not much point passing a law that you know our court will strike down.
One consequence of our lack of such basic, commonsense regulations for the protection of women is that we are now the fifth highest provider of abortions to out-of-state women in the nation (based on information released by the Center for Disease Control in November, 2012).
In other words, Tennessee has become an abortion destination. Florida may be the “sunshine state,” but at least we are becoming known for something – an abortion haven.
But Tennessee’s low profile nationally when it comes to abortion is about to be raised. Substantially.
On November 4, 2014, Tennesseans will go to the polls to vote on a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would put the constitution back where it was before four activist judges re-wrote it in 2000. If voters approve the amendment, Tennesseans will once again be back in control of what abortion policies our state will have.
That profile began to be raised some this week. This coming Monday, November 4th, the campaign being organized by Yes on 1 to pass the amendment will kick off with its first major fundraising event. That event caught the eye of the press. And not just in Tennessee. It became a story in newspapers across the nation.
For the media and abortion advocates, any attempt to pass something pro-life is a problem that they think America needs to be warned about. And in this case, what Tennessee is doing required a five-alarm warning.
The reason this amendment is a major “problem” is simple. Unlike what happens in Texas and other states, abortionist have not had to convince the people of Tennessee and their elected representatives to support pro-abortion policies over pro-life policies; the state Supreme Court took the issue out of their hands and declared abortionists the winner on all abortion issues. But the amendment would change that.
In response to the news about the fundraiser, representatives of Planned Parenthood made it clear that they intend to put up a strong fight to defeat the amendment. And they will.
If our experience is like that in other states where pro-life measures have been up for public vote, abortion money will pour in from other states.
So, Tennesseans, be ready. You may not get much “love” when it come to presidential politics, but next year, you will become the focus of attention around the nation as Tennesseans decide whether they want to be known as an abortion destination.