Several concerned residents gathered Saturday to learn about efforts to promote passage of pro-life Amendment 1 on the November General Election ballot.
More than 30 advocates from Wilson, Sumner, Smith and Macon counties heard from speakers that included state Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet. Beavers served as primary Senate sponsor of the proposed amendment during its final passage by the Tennessee legislature in 2011.
Having met the required series of legislative votes to be placed on the ballot in 2014, Tennessee voters will now have the opportunity to approve language, which would restore the ability of the people to decide what restrictions – if any – should be placed on the practice of abortion in Tennessee.
Beavers said the amendment was brought in response to a 2000 ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court, which claimed a broader, more fundamental right to abortion than even the federal right established under Roe v. Wade. As a result, Tennessee lawmakers are largely prevented from deciding state abortion law and existing protective policies were struck down as violating the state Constitution.
“Without basic regulation of abortion practice and facilities in our state, Tennessee has sadly become an abortion destination,” said Beavers.
According to recent numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health, nearly 25 percent of abortions performed in Tennessee are sought by women and girls who live outside the state. According to the TDOH, 15,859 abortions were reported in Tennessee during 2012, and 3,737 of those were by women and girls who live in another state.
Policies struck down by the state Supreme Court’s ruling in 2000 include informed consent provisions for women and girls considering abortion and a requirement abortion facilities in Tennessee are licensed, inspected and regulated by the Tennessee Department of Health.
“A yes vote on Amendment 1 will restore the ability of Tennesseans to enact and enforce common sense protections that guarantee the health and safety of Tennessee’s women,” said Trecia Dillingham, a participant at Saturday’s meeting in Mt. Juliet.
Those who attended the meeting are working to raise awareness throughout Middle Tennessee in advance of the November public vote on abortion.
For more information, call Dillingham at 615-443-5458 or visit voteyestn.org.