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Debate Over TN Abortion Amendment Begins In Earnest

WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

  On Nov. 4, 2014, Tennesseans will go to the polls and vote on whether the state’s General Assembly should have the authority to regulate abortion. The so-called abortion amendmentwill appear on the ballot as “Amendment One” and if approved by voters, would add language to the state constitution that would read (in part), “Nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to abortion.”

The referendum represents the final step in a long process that began in 2000, when the Tennessee State Supreme Court issued a ruling that protected “a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy”.Shortly after the ruling, Pro-Life forces began to pursue a strategy that would give the ultimate power of abortion regulation to the General Assembly.  With the language firmly rooted in the constitution, it would also prevent courts from issuing similar rulings to the 2000 decision. 

Some advocates of Amendment One are launching their campaigns today, including the “Yes On 1” campaign, which features a kick-off tonight in Nashville.  The event at Vanderbilt will feature Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and is expected to raise $250,000.  At the same time, the stars of the reality television show “19 Kids and Counting” will appear at a church north of Nashville to encourage voters to cast “yes” votes in next year’s election.

While opponents to Amendment One haven’t officially launched an official campaign yet, leaders of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union tell the Tennesseanthey are already polling and raising money to fund their effort.