For those who have emailed and called and prayed for the last 10 years about reversing our Tennessee Supreme Court-created “fundamental right to abortion,” don’t stop now. The final journey for SJR 127 is maybe just now beginning.
Last night Senate Joint Resolution 127 took the first of the last three steps in a long journey to the election-day ballot. The state Senate, by a vote of ___ to ___, sent to the state House the proposed state Constitutional amendment that would allow the people of Tennessee to decide whether to keep or reject our Tennessee Supreme Court-created “fundamental right to abortion.” What steps are left?
The second of the three steps will begin, hopefully, next week in the House Health and Human Resources Subcommittee. If approved, the week after that it would be heard by the full Committee. And hopefully, the following week it will be on the House floor for debate by the entire House.
If the Resolution reaches the House floor, it must pass by a vote of 2/3 of the entire House membership, meaning it will need to garner 66 votes. Only one Republican in either the state House or Senate has ever voted against SRJ 127 during the course of the now ten-year struggle to get the amendment on the ballot. The lone Republican to have ever voted “no” lost in the Republican primary a few months later.
With 64 Republicans in the state House and pro-life Independent, Kent Williams (R-Elizabethton), only one vote is needed to reach the magic number of 66. But Democrats like Charles Curtiss (D-Sparta) and John Mark Windle (D-Livingston) have been solidly pro-life. And it is anticipated that some other Democrats will vote for the Resolution. That will be the completion of Step 2.
The third and final step will be convincing the voters of Tennessee to approve the amendment in 2014. And that will be a major, expensive campaign. Opponents of the amendment will try to convince voters that the world will come to an end, conveniently forgetting to tell voters that 34 states don’t even have a state constitutional right to abortion. And the world hasn’t come to an end in those states.
So, for those who have emailed and called and prayed for the last 10 years, don’t stop now. The final journey is maybe just now beginning.