Pro-life legislation wins in Tennessee
Tennessee Right to Life (TRL) is announcing major legislative victories in the most recent Legislature. From TRL (edited by FAB for space):
Unprecedented Pro-Life Victories: SJR 127 Wins Place on 2014 Ballot, Public Gets Vote on Radical Pro-Abortion Ruling
More than a decade after the Tennessee Supreme Court issued a wrong and radical ruling claiming a ‘fundamental’ right to abortion in the Tennessee Constitution, bi-partisan super majorities in the General Assembly have sent the matter for Tennesseans to decide in a public vote during the next governor’s election in 2014. “At long last the people of Tennessee will have their say in this matter of life and death,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. “Should a handful of activist judges make Tennessee’s laws on abortion or should it be the people acting through their elected representatives in the state Legislature? We are confident that when it’s all said and done, the power for deciding such questions will be returned to the people,” Harris said.
As required for every proposed amendment to the state Constitution, SJR 127 passed for the first time in 2009 by votes of 77-21 in the state House and 23-9 in the state Senate. Requirement for super-majority during second passage was achieved in 2011 by votes of 76-18 in the state House and 24-8 in the state Senate.
SJR 127 calls for a public voters to approve inclusion of the following language in the Tennessee Constitution:
Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
As written the proposed amendment does not criminalize abortion but overturns the Court’s pro-abortion ruling, returns the Tennessee Constitution to a position of neutrality on abortion and allows the people of the state and their elected legislators to again enact meaningful protections for women and unborn children in our state.
While the Court’s 2000 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist makes it impossible to enforceprotections that violate the state’s newly discovered ‘right to abortion,’ Tennessee Right to Life has encouraged passage of policies which do not directly challenge the Court’s holding. Several such pro-life protections were passed by overwhelming bi-partisan majorities in the final days of the legislative session including:
- State Budget Amendment to Bar Funding for Planned Parenthood. Further tightens 2009 effort by requiring that federal Title X family planning funds shall be used fully by local, county or municipal health departments and that no funds shall be disbursed to private non-profit organizations or agencies. Diverts $1.2 million tax dollars from Planned Parenthood affiliates in Nashville and Memphis. Passed unanimously as part of final budget approval.
- Expansion of Tennessee’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Extends current state law to include unborn children prior to viability as victims of assault or homicide. Previous statute was only enforceable following establishment of child’s viability. Passed House 80-0 and Senate 26-0.
[Note: if you wish to read the remainder of the TRL announcement, click here.]
Hats off to TRL for their tireless work on behalf of these legislative victories. And hats off to pro-life people all over Tennessee who worked to elect pro-life candidates.
But some in the pro-life movement are not convinced that victories such as these are really a good thing. More about that later!
This entry was posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011 at 8:30 am and is filed under Pro Life Strategy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.