Tennessee Decends into the Dark Ages

dark pathThe fight for reproduction freedom rages on in several states this election but the Tennessee wing-nut legislation has made this state center stage for the battle.

Tennesseans were asked and voted to amend the state constitution to provide that:

“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”.

That’s right folks. Tennessee is trying to amend its constitution to never protect abortion, ever, under any circumstance (rape, incest or death to mother). How did Tennessee descend into such backward thinking logic?

It was not that long ago [2000] that the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in a case that “a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of… the Tennessee Constitution’. The case was Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist and the ruling of the court was that the Tennessee constitution affords even more protection than the U.S. Constitution to Tennesseans seeking abortions.

The court also determined that Tennessee could only pass very narrow restrictions on abortion as a result. Republicans in the state legislature immediately reacted by attempting to amend the state constitution. Those proposed amendments failed to pass the state legislature but now they are on the November ballot.

Don’t be deceived that protections exist in the legislation by veiled references to rape, incest and the life of the mother in the language of the proposed amendment. The second sentence is deceptive and craftily written to leave the incorrect impression that exemptions are either in place, or could easily be put in place. The proposed wording in fact allows the state to regulate all those interests out of existence.

Do Tennessee women really need to be protected from their own decision-making by the state legislation? The restrictions and regulations that Amendment 1 would enable Tennessee legislators to pass would be appalling.

Amendment 1 is a misleading piece of legislation and designed to be exactly that in an effort to deceive voters into voting for poorly written legislation. Recent polling conducted by Vanderbilt University in May found that 71 percent of state voters oppose amending the constitution to place abortion rules solely in the hands of the legislature.

It appears that people who support Amendment 1 will have their rigid beliefs and restrictions imposed on everyone else. They want the draconian legislators to decide – the same legislation that has repeatedly proven to be biased on the issue. People should not forget that the last time fundamentalists imposed their rule on everyone else – they called it the dark ages.

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