Flower

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.

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