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Amendment 1 (Tennessee) – Lessons Learned

Amendment 1 No

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Now that the vote is in, there are important lessons to be learned, not just in Tennessee, but nationally as well.

Lessons Learned:

1.  Until we change public opinion, Amendment 1 (along with the anticipated ensuing regulations) are about as much as we can hope to accomplish with our current strategy.  An outright ban would not have passed.

 Voters believe that abortion is evil enough to be regulated, but not evil enough to be banned.  Americans will not tolerate government intrusion into matters of personal morality, unless there is extreme justification for that intrusion … and they don’t understand how extremely evil abortion really is.

2.  In order for the public to demand protection for every human person, we have to convince millions of American voters that abortion is not just evil, but so evil that it ought to be against the law.

 The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), along with NRLC affiliates and others in the movement, are trying to end abortion by mobilizing public opinion as it currently exists.  The results of Amendment 1 in Tennessee and initiatives in other states demonstrate that this will never work.

 Unfortunately, they have nothing in place that even begins to reshape public opinion, not at the level necessary to challenge the status quo.

3.  In order to reshape public opinion, we must force millions of ignorant and apathetic Americans to see the facts they are desperate to avoid.

 They are apathetic because they are ignorant of the facts, and …

 … they are ignorant because they are apathetic.

 They don’t read our stuff.  They don’t come to our talks and debates.  They avoid new information.

 We have to go to them, they will not come to us.  Our methods must be non-consentual.

 With the average American, we get maybe 3 seconds to prove that abortion is so evil that it ought to be against the law.

 This is the same problem faced by Wilberforce, Clarkson, King, Hine, and other reformers who came before.  They all solved the problem the same way … by using horrifying pictures to engage citizens who were desperate to avoid the truth … after years of trying what didn’t work.

4.  We have a long way to go.  Let’s get started.

Victory in Tennessee!!!!

Yes on 1 - Thank You

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Congratulations to Tennessee Right to Life (TRL) on a major pro-life victory in Tennessee.  After 14 years of planning and laying the groundwork, Tennessee Amendment 1, which clears the way for the Tennessee Legislature to enact modest regulations on the abortion industry, passed with 52.6% of the vote.

Special kudos to TRL President Brian Harris and all of the TRL chapters who made this big win possible with an outstanding grassroots effort that reached into every county in the state.

The abortion industry spent more than $4,000,000 on clever and often deceptive advertising, even claiming that Amendment 1 would ban abortion in the state (which is ludicrous because Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton prevents a state from banning abortion).

In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down abortion regulations that were passed with bipartisan support in a legislature still controlled by Democrats at that time.  The Court invented a right to abortion that simply is not present in the Tennessee Constitution.  As a result, the citizens of Tennessee were forced to pass this amendment, which only clarifies that the Tennessee Constitution contains no right to abortion.

The kind of regulations which might now be considered by the Legislature cannot effectively prohibit abortions, but they have been shown to save babies and moms in other states.  Of course, any regulations passed by the Legislature will be subject to the limitations of Roe v Wade, Doe v Bolton, and any judgments of the Federal courts.

It is unclear at this time whether (1) the restrictions passed 15 years ago will go into effect immediately, now that the “Constitutional” prohibition has been eliminated, or (2) new regulations will have to be passed by the Legislature.

Amendment 1 is Common Ground

Yes on 1

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The Knoxville News Sentinel printed part of my letter, but here is the entire letter.

The abortion debate is usually quite polarized, so people are always asking me, “Isn’t there some room for common ground between pro-life and pro-choice?” I never thought so until now, but clearly, Amendment 1 is that common ground.

People on both sides agree that abortion facilities should be licensed and inspected. Amendment 1 allows that to happen.

People on both sides agree that women should never be coerced into having abortions, yet the Elliot Institute reports that as many as 60% of abortions are coerced (Forced Abortion in America, accessed online). Amendment 1 allows measures to curtail unwanted coercion.

People on both sides agree that women should be given all the information regarding medical risks and alternatives to abortion, yet the Elliot Institute reports that 79% of women were not told of available resources.

If you follow the money, the big money against Amendment 1 is coming from the abortion industry. Go figure. But most people agree that regulatory oversight is important and necessary to ensure women’s health.

Vote Yes on 1 to protect women

Ron Ramsey

Ron Ramsey

by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

Tennessee is one of the best-managed states in the nation. Our budget is balanced every year, we have cut taxes and our recent education reforms are the envy of other states.

Due to its many attractive qualities, Tennessee has become a great magnet: for retirees looking for a place to spend their golden years, for working people looking to escape states that bleed their earning through state income taxes and for entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of our business-friendly environment.

Unfortunately, there is another reason people come to Tennessee that is not cause for celebration: our liberal abortion laws.

In fact, just a few days ago, the New York Times asked in a headline whether Tennessee was the “abortion capital of the bible belt.” It is my hope that Tennesseans will go to the polls Nov. 4 and vote YES on Amendment 1 so that question will never be asked again — rhetorically or otherwise.

The origin of this amendment is rooted in a Tennessee Supreme Court decision which asserted Tennessee’s Constitution prevents the legislature from passing common-sense laws regarding abortion. Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist (2000) resulted in the removal of three protections passed by the General Assembly: informed consent, a 48-hour waiting period and a requirement that late term abortions be performed in a hospital setting. A fourth protection passed after the ruling that would have required state inspection of abortion facilities and licensure of providers was also struck down.

So in Tennessee, hairdressers and exterminators are licensed and inspected – but there is no oversight of people who perform abortions.

The lies told by those who oppose Amendment 1 are cynical and misleading. They insinuate the amendment could end legal abortion in Tennessee. It does no such thing. The amendment would merely allow the legislature to pass common sense laws regarding abortion that many, many other states have passed. Nothing more.

These measures have widespread support. While the extreme liberal activists at the Tennessee Democratic Party are spreading half-truths and conspiracy theories, the fact is Amendment 1 has support across ideological and party lines. Amendment 1 passed the legislature by wide margins.

That means legislators, Democrat and Republican, pro-life and pro-choice, believe Tennesseans should have the final say.

Those who support unrestricted, unregulated abortion on demand are trying to make Amendment 1 a litmus test on whether one believes in legal abortion. It is not.

This issue is beyond simplistic labels. Personally, I am pro-life and believe that abortion is the killing of an innocent human life. But even those who believe abortion should remain legal think the practice should be safe, legal and rare.

This amendment does not eliminate the right to choose; it simply allows us to join with other states to pass common sense laws that protect women and ensure their safety.

Many Tennesseans are decidedly pro-life and some are militantly pro-abortion but a plurality are somewhere in between. Polls indicate that nearly half of the electorate falls somewhere between the two polar extremes. This amendment not only brings us in line with a majority of other states, it allows us to put safeguards in place on which most reasonable people can agree.

According to the Department of Health, nearly one-fourth of women having abortions in Tennessee were from out of state. Tennessee should be known for its scenic vistas and pro-business economy, not for having the most liberal abortion laws in the southeast.

Vote Yes on Amendment 1 and bring common sense back to the abortion discussion in Tennessee.

FAB contributor Ron Ramsey also serves as the Tennessee Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate … in his spare time.

Doubling your vote for pro-life Amendment 1 … legally!

Double Your Vote

Double Your Vote

Pro-lifers voted for Gov. Haslam in 2010 and would do it again.  But this year, many will skip the Tennessee governor’s race altogether.  Why?

Because a vote for governor (any candidate) will be a half-vote against pro-life Amendment 1.  The Tennessean explains in this article.  According to the Tennessean … and have no fear, they are correct this time …:

 That logic … hinges on a provision in the state constitution that outlines the threshold an amendment must get for it to succeed — a majority of the votes cast in the gubernatorial election regardless of the number of votes cast on the amendment.

Watch this video and pass it on!

Opponents of Amendment 1 are having trouble with the truth

Yes on 1

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from the Yes on 1 Campaign

Pro-abortion activists have been circulating fundraising emails making the following claims, all of them false.  Please know the facts and speak out in support of Amendment 1.

When They Say:  “Amendment One is an unprecedented power grab by the Tennessee state legislature to take away women’s right to choose.”

You Say:  Amendment 1 restores to the people our right to debate and decide what policies are appropriate with regard to abortion, just as we do on any matter of importance.  The Amendment specifically states “the people retain the right… to enact, amend or repeal statutes regarding abortion.”  Even in the most difficult of circumstances, proponents of Amendment 1 trust the conscience and common sense of Tennessee’s people to do what is right and fair.

When They Say:  “It is from a Republican legislature whose senators voted unanimously to ban abortion with no exceptions, not even to allow a woman to save her own life!”

You Say:  Since 1973, there has never been a vote to ban abortion in Tennessee, period.  Amendment 1 enjoys bi-partisan support and was placed on the ballot by super-majorities including the Democratic Leader and Democratic Caucus Chairman. In total, 39% of House Democrats voted in support of Amendment 1 during final legislative passage in 2011.

When they Say:  “It is a deceptively worded constitutional amendment, designed to confuse and mislead voters, and all of us will be voting on it this November.”

You Say:  Amendment 1 returns the Tennessee Constitution to neutral after a 2000 ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court which claimed a broader right to abortion in the Tennessee Constitution than Roe v. Wade or the U.S. Constitution. It restores the rights of Tennesseans to decide what abortion law should be in our state rather than leaving policy decisions to the Judiciary.

Tennessee Physicians Support Yes on 1

Brent Boles, MD

Brent Boles, MD

by Brent Boles, MD

The debate regarding abortion has always been an emotional and highly charged discussion. The people of Tennessee are not served well, however, by opinion pieces such as “Abortion amendment bad news for women,” June 4.

Nor are we served well by recent full-page advertisements that compared Amendment 1 supporters to the Taliban and wrongly implied that a state can ban the practice of abortion under Roe vs. Wade. So what would serve every Tennessean well? The truth.

The fact that most people in Tennessee do not realize is this: 14 years ago, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood regarding the laws enacted by the duly elected legislators of Tennessee and claimed that the state constitution contained a “fundamental right to abortion.” As a result, several meaningful restrictions and regulations on the abortion practice were struck down, and the enforcement of new legislation regarding abortion is certain to be similarly ruled as violating this newly identified “right.”

Our state now ranks third in percentage of abortions performed on out-of-state residents, with about 1 in 4 abortions sought by women and girls from elsewhere because it is easier to obtain an abortion here than in any of the eight states bordering Tennessee.

A recent opinion writer stated that passage of Amendment 1 will give carte blanche to all future politicians in regard to abortion. The reality is that Planned Parenthood vs. Sundquist gave carte blanche to the abortion facilities in our state that now operate with no oversight by the state of Tennessee. Women who went to get a manicure today entered a facility that is probably better regulated than some abortion facilities here.

States bordering Tennessee have stronger laws to protect the health and safety of women and girls by requiring that abortion providers offer accurate information about risks of the abortion procedure through an informed consent process. They provide short waiting periods so that every woman is assured enough time to weigh the information provided and to guard against coerced abortions. Our neighboring states also insist the enforcement of common-sense safeguards such as requiring that abortion providers submit to the same state health inspectors that regulate hospitals, surgery centers, nursing homes, restaurants, and even hair salons.

Women and girls in Tennessee do not have these safeguards because the Tennessee Supreme Court took the matter of abortion policy out of the hands of the people and gave all authority on the matter back to abortion providers. The end result of Planned Parenthood vs. Sundquist is that the people are left with no ability to regulate abortion in any meaningful way.

Voting yes on Amendment 1 will allow the people of Tennessee to debate and deliberate what common-sense policies are appropriate in our state regarding abortion. It will allow Tennesseans to once again protect the lives and health of women and girls as is being done in each of our bordering states.

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C. Brent Boles, M.D., is an Ob/Gyn in practice in Murfreesboro and is active with the Yes On 1 campaign.  This op-ed was published by The Tennessean on June 16, 2014 (link).

Tennessee, just say NO to ObamaCare – RALLY IN NASHVILLE!

Just Say NO Rally, Dec 5, 12:00 Noon, Tennessee State Captiol

Just Say NO to ObamaCare Rally, Wednesday, Dec 5, 12:00 Noon, Tennessee State Captiol

Your help is needed to stop an ObamaCare State Exchange in TN.  From the Nashville Tea Party:

Governor Haslam must make a decision by December 14, and reports indicate he is still undecided.  Please Join Nashville Tea Party and many other groups to raise our voices together and petition the Governor to Just Say NO to an ObamaCare State Exchange.  We will have a petition for you to sign at the Rally.  Please join us.  Here is a map link.  We will rally on the east side of the Tennessee State Capitol Building at 12:oo Noon on Wednesday, December 5.

When ObamaCare becomes the debacle that we believe is inevitable, we cannot allow ourselves to be in the position of taking the blame.  If Republicans become the face of ObamaCare in Tennessee, we will be blamed.  We cannot allow that to happen.  Please do the following:

  1. Call Governor Haslam’s office: (615) 741-2001
  2. Contact Governor Haslam through his website: http://www.tn.gov/help/.  Under “Choose a Topic”, select “MESSAGE TO GOV. HASLAM,” then type your message.
  3. E-mail Governor Haslam at bill.haslam@tn.gov.
  4. Attend this rally on December 5.

More from the Cato Institute:

  1. ObamaCare is Still Vulnerable
  2. ObamaCare: The Road to Repeal Starts in the States
  3. No ObamaCare Exchanges

Abortion in Tennessee: Extensive series in the Nashville Tennessean

Welcome to Tennessee Abortion Capital of the Southeast

Welcome to Tennessee, Abortion Capital of the Southeast

The Nashville Tennessean has published an extensive series on abortion in Tennessee.  Did they get it right?  Please comment below!  Here are the links:

Abortion in Tennessee

The Debate

The People

The Data

The Future of Abortion in Tennessee

David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT)

David Fowler, President, Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT)

David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), explains to a group of pastors how Tennessee’s lack of sane restrictions on abortion condemn thousands of babies a year to death, and lays out the battle that lies ahead as the pro-life community works to pass a constitutional amendment in 2014 that would make those sane restrictions possible once again.

This is an excerpt from David Fowler’s speech at Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall pastor’s briefing in Nashville, Tennessee on February 16, 2012.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgc1uF0KKtM





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