State Senate passes anti-abortion amendment

Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 1:57am

For the fourth time in seven years, the state Senate passed a constitutional amendment Wednesday to remove any guarantees for a right to an abortion within the state constitution.

“This is something that I think is a good day for the people of Tennessee to restore to the people the power of their constitution,” said Sen. Diane Black (R-Gallatin), the sponsor of the constitutional amendment. “And I’m looking forward that this will get full debate over in the House and hopefully passage there.”

Since a 2000 state Supreme Court decision struck down some abortion restrictions, the state Senate has passed a constitutional amendment similar to the one passed Wednesday every General Assembly — 2001, 2004, 2006 and now 2008.

Each time, however, that the Senate has passed the amendment, known as Senate Joint Resolution 127, it has either been defeated in a House subcommittee or not been acted upon.

When asked why this year should be any different, Black tried to show optimism: “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Yesterday, the Senate passed the amendment 23-9. All 16 Republicans supported the resolution, as well as six Democrats and one Independent.

The amendment would not ban abortions in Tennessee, but would allow the Legislature to enact “common sense protections” regarding them, such as a 48-hour waiting period prior to an abortion, proponents say.

A required 48-hour waiting period was one of the provisions struck down in 2000.

“The basic purpose of this resolution, at least in my mind, has been to restore to the Legislature a power which should be theirs and not the courts,” said Sen. Douglas Henry (D-Nashville), one of the six Democrats supporting the Republican-led effort.

Through different mechanisms Wednesday, Democrats repeatedly tried to add exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of the mother is endangered to the constitutional amendment, but were defeated each time with unanimous GOP opposition.

“To be pro-life, you do not have to be anti-victim,” said Sen. Roy Herron (D-Dresden), who voted against the constitutional amendment. “To be pro-baby, you do not have to be anti-mother.”

While some Republicans favor exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, they countered that the amendment should not have those explicit exceptions and, if added, could cause further court action.

In a partial response last week, the Senate added a sentence to the constitutional amendment to essentially remind Tennesseans — should they ever get the chance to vote on the amendment — that the Legislature could regulate cases of rape, incest and life of the mother.

Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle (D-Memphis), who voted against the resolution, said he was not comfortable leaving that matter to future legislatures.

“I don’t know who those people are,” Kyle said on the Senate floor. “I don’t know who they are going to be. I don’t know how anyone got elected and I don’t know who they’re going to listen to. And I wasn’t elected to come up here and pass the buck to somebody in the future on this matter.”

The amendment, as passed by the Senate Wednesday, would write the following into 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 circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”

The anti-abortion amendment now heads to likely a House subcommittee, where it has met an unsuccessful fate previously.

If the full House were to approve it, both the Senate and House would have to pass it by a two-thirds majority in the next General Assembly.

If that were to occur, Tennesseans would vote up or down on the amendment in 2010.

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By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

This is so pathetic. Why can't the Gen. Ass. do something to HELP us? Our public schools need more & better teachers. We have thousands of homeless people. We have thousands of people w/out health insurance. If the Gen. Ass. can't help w/ these problems, then it should go home & stop wasting our money.THE CITY PAPER should make it a policy to print the specific results of every Gen. Ass. vote. It behooves us all to vote out the sixteen Republicans, six Democrats, & one independent who supported this pointless, asinine amendment.

By: WrdBrn on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Neanderthals... A decision between anyone and a medical professional is no ones business. As a society we could not imagine abortion by coat hanger or worse. We have forgotten all we have learned...

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Thank God we have some common sense in our General Assembly! Of the 50,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade, how many of those were for 'legitimate' reasons (rape-incest, and the actual 'save the life of the mother' theme we hear so much about?) and how many were actually for after-the-fact birth control? That's the vast majority of abortions...those that could have been avoided in the first place. In those 'spurn the baby for the rights of the selfish and greedy' we have the great collective shame of abortionists, those aborting 'mothers', and of everyone alive in this country who doesn't speak out.Since everyone reading this is obviously not in any danger of being aborted, abortion isn't a threat to you. But the threat is there, eating at the core of our collective system of values. If our government can't at least try to protect an unborn child with a minimum of intervention, a 48-hour waiting period, then truly our governing system is fatally broken. We should not discard that future person, a God-created receptacle of a new soul, without some small consideration. That's all this effort is about...a small consideration for a tiny unborn life, the weakest voiceless link to our future. "Vital signs should be observed regularly, and a Doppler [for listening to the fetal heartbeat] inaudible to the patient should be used at intervals to determine the presence or absence of fetal heart tones.. This [informed consent] is a controversial area, but most professionals in the field feel that it is not advisable for patients to view the products of conception, to be told the sex of the fetus, or to be informed of a multiple pregnancy".--Abortionist Warren Hern in "Abortion Practice" J.B. Lippincott Company, 1984 pgs 145 and 304

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

S8, why should the government tell you when you can have a medical procedure? Would you agree to a 48-hour wait before your emergency bypass? An extra 48 hours before your appendectomy?This amendment is trying to tell women what to do w/ their bodies. Stop treating women like baby receptacles.Also, it amazes me that you don't mind the wasted funds of this do-nothing Gen. Ass.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

ser8d, really what business is it of yours whether pregnancies were "legitimate" or not? This is a matter for the women involved to decide, not you.Tell you what, hie yourself down to the nearest Church-0-Christ, drop down on your knees screaming that you have accepted Jesus as your personal saviour and you're covered in the Blood of the Lamb.Therefore saved, you needn't worry your pretty little head about the sins of others, your Mansion in the sky is assured. No need no longer try to intervene to avoid Hades.Although I suppose in your case it's probably a McMansion.

By: yazoo on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I have another amendment to add."If a woman applies for an abortion, genetic testing should be conducted to determine the male side of the equation. That individual should be arrested, put on probation, or castrated, since they were 50% of the reason this woman is in this situation."All you bible thumpers take heed of the lessons from that Adam and Eve situation. Stop demonizing *just* the women in this idiotic issue. "Oh Lawd she wassa so temptating! I simply could nawt resis' her sireen call. It all was her fawlt fer tempatin' me. I dun sinned and now she gotta have that lil' demon to raise, cuz I gots plenty more lovin to attend to elsewhere"Anti-abortionists are they way they are for the following reasons:Every abortion = 1 less titheEvery abortion = potentially 1 less conservative voterEvery abortion = 1 less soldier killing the wrong people

By: tiphani on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah...Thank God we have some common sense in our General Assembly... BECAUSE IT WILL DIE IN THE HOUSE!

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

A medical procedure, M? A medical procedure removes a wart from your forehead.An abortion kills an unborn life, a living human who just hasn't had the opportunity to be born yet.Just a bit of difference between the two.You've expressed extreme distaste for capital punishment, against 'aborting' those who have killed other people, mostly cases of foul murders committed by the dregs of society. I put much more importance in the value of unborn life. Why do you put more value in the life of that properly-convicted killer, and less on the value of that the life of the unborn? Why is the intrinsic value of a heinous convicted killer worth more?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

serr8d, why is it up to you to decide whether or not an abortion was necessary? this is a medical and sometimes moral decision made by an individual and their physician. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. what about thou shalt not judge?

By: NewYorker1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I believe anyone who is on public assistance i.e., food stamps, housing vouchers, etc should be forced to have an abortion. Also, anyone who doesn't have a college education (not college credits, but an actual degree), a credit score below 750, and is not a homeowner should also be forced to have an abortion.

By: vchester on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Oh how the love just oozes from these posts...I personally know some of those "bible thumpers" you speak of that vote democrat and when asked about this issue state that they are OK with it; so even in the churches it is a controversy.Your posts on this subject just show your partisan politics and absence of knowledge about the real facts. Aborting babies is a very profitable industry and is well protected by liberal politicians and their accomplices in the media. The long term effects of a woman having had an abortion are well documented. The guilt, grief and pain can follow her throughout life.As for the hateful posts about churches and Christians, I am willing to write them off as ignorant rants about something greatly misunderstood.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

In that case, vchester, you're clearly beyond redemption.

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I hear you, vchester. Sometimes it's hard to rise above the swirl of nazis and trollops who post here.But, occasionally, one or two comes along who makes some sense. Thanks, for that.

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

case in point...

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yes, S8, a medical procedure removing something much smaller than a wart on your forehead. Why should you & Diane Black tell my student that she can't have this procedure to remove something smaller than a wart? You scream about the meddling government, yet you want constitutional amendments about how we control our own bodies.

By: Mom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wow! I really almost feel sorry for some of you. Abortion is nothing more than the ultimate act of selfishness and cowardice, not to mention a total disregard for personal responsibility. Our society is quickly becoming one where everybody wants to blame someone else for what happens to them. If you don't want to be a parent, either have responsible sex or no sex at all. If you aren't capable of preventing conception, then you clearly aren't capable of making a decision about whether or not abortion should be legal. I am not unsympathetic to those who get pregnant as a result of rape, but wouldn't it be awesome to see some women of courage and substance arise and overcome! Instead of running in fear, thinking that she can never be happy with this baby in her life, accept the precious gift that a child is,and overcome. Abortion is nothing but a coward's way out at the expense of a precious baby's life ending in a sick painful way!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Mom, I don't disagree with you but it's not my place to make decisions for others. I'm pro-choice, however I would never choose abortion if I had that decision to make.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I just want to know where Mom got those pretty rose red glasses?

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gee mom. I hope your daughter is never raped and doesn't have any perverted uncles, preachers or teachers who will feel no remorse in taking away her innocence.

By: Mom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

All I am saying is that it is time for a change. It is time to protect and defend those precious lives who cannot do so for themselves! It is time for the men and women of courage, character and honor to come forward and turn Roe v. Wade around. We have been silent for too long which makes us just as guilty as the abortionists themselves. We do not act out of hatred for those who disagree with us, but rather out of love and compassion for the innocent blood of our children and all the children of America! Am I alone or will we do this?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

so if someone disagrees with you, mom, are they lacking courage, character and honor? what happened to the separation of church and state? this is a personal decision and the government should have no say. it's called protecting our liberties. what if i decide for religious purposes that you should not have your tonsils taken out because in my (fictional) opinion it defiles your body?

By: Mom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

For the sake of argument, the issue here is not a tonsilectomy, it's murder. I am in no way trying to be unkind or argumentative. However, you will be hardpressed to find a "religion" which supports killing the innocent.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Or maybe it is tunnel vision! Blinders? Sunglasses at night?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

isn't government supposed to be secular? we don't want a theocracy like the middle east, do we?

By: tv8527 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Mom makes some very good points .My opinion is I'll give you the first trimester,after that leave that kid alone.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

i can live with that, tv.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

That does sound reasonable, and what I tout also. If the baby can survive outside the womb, then that is the point of “life”. But, in this “all or nothing world”, we are where we are at. The stupidity of our history is too often forgotten, and too often repeated.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

That is reasonable. It is interesting how Conservatives are so concerned about life in the womb, but then don't really care once you're born, unless you're born into a rich Christian family.

By: vchester on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gdia, what?? I am a conservative. Every human life is precious, born or unborn, rich or poor, regardless of intellect. Where do you people get off making these baseless assumptions about conservatives or Christians??I know of many Christian families who have taken in newborns for adoption, or as foster parents for unwanted children. It is patently obvious that many of you are not Christian in belief, or are just plain ignorant of the Christian faith.gdia, what do you base your last sentence on, some factual evidence or just your little partisan, bias corner of the world?

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Must've hit a nerve with ole chester. It's based on years of watching the Republicans cater to the rich while trying to eliminate the middle class. Don't even get me started with the poor, do you even acknowledge them or attempt to help?I'm Christian, just not YOUR type of Christian. The best statement on the subject is this, "Lord, save me from your followers".

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What really makes me nervous about all this is that the individuals passing these laws are the same people that went on record and said "..some of us are alcoholics, some of us are thieves, and some of us are adulterers..."
"12613

By: vchester on 12/31/69 at 6:00

ah, just as I thought, no factual evidence to support your liberal spew. I am conservative, but not rich, just middle class. And yes, I not only acknowledge the poor, I try to help where and when I can. I work with the Meals on Wheels program, Room in the Inn, and contribute to the distribution of winter coats for those in need sponsored by the Granny White Church of Christ. But I am only one of many conservatives who do much more than me.You just need to get past your obvious ignorance of the facts. Try knowing a little about a subject before you and your keyboard show your apparent ignorance.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

having made the choice, I can tell you from experience.... you lie awake at night and wonder... what might've been.... what if it had lived? Would it be a darling little girl in the next room or maybe tomorrow's Peyton Manning? Could he have cured all cancer, AIDS, what??? But in just a few hours, you can murder a child in your womb without the father's consent~ If the daddy made you mad, watched some porn, talked to a girl at a bar, you can go murder his baby. Is this okay with y'all? Does anyone else out there see the morbidity in this whole process? The clinic here never called it a baby...not once. Even after 3 months gestation, it's NEVER a baby, just an unwanted pregnancy.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

it's about having a choice, girlie. we don't want a theocracy, do we? like i said, i'm pro-choice but would never have an abortion and i know plenty of people who think the same way. it's about the ability to make a choice, not about abusing your choices. it's about keeping the government out of things they have not right being involved in.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

chester, quick question. how can you be pro-life yet be pro-war?

By: koolbass on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I keep hearing selfish, self-centered excuses about the mother's rights ... but why does NO ONE defend the child, and what is best for the child ... who is,unfortunately, TOTALLY dependent on a confused and calloused mother!!I don't need to hear more rationalizations. That only tells me the depth of darkness clouding someone's vision.

By: MacMac on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Amen Mom!!! It is never right to do wrong. It is a baby not a choice. It also is not a wart or a tonsil. There is a big difference. Pro choice - what about the BABY'S CHOICE? It really is their life. What about the RIGHTS of millions of dead babies? A doctor and a mother do not have the right to murder. A judge and a mother do not have the right to murder. Abortion is a selfish act. Abortion is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Even if abortion were an act of selfishness & cowardice (which it isn’t), Mom, that wouldn’t make it illegal or unconstitutional. To remove from women the control of their own bodies is, indeed, selfish, cowardly, AND unconstitutional. You don’t need to have an abortion, and you can think ill of those who have them, but if you value privacy, if you don’t want to be prevented from buying birth control for yourself, then abortion remains constitutional, and your inability—and the inability of everyone who wants to criminalize it—to find a constitutional justification for the imposition of your religious beliefs demonstrates the fundamental right to individual freedom inherent in the right to have an abortion.Tv8, your argument & Lou’s resemble the Supremes’ decision in Roe v. Wade. It was not the best decision ever rendered by the Supremes (that probably goes to Baker v. Carr), but it’s far from the worst (which is probably Bush v. Gore). It sets forth, reasonably, the interest of the state as it meets the interest of the individual. I advise everyone who wants to think about the issue to read Roe v. Wade, and the many books about the Supremes & that decision. The Brethren (Woodward & Armstrong) is particularly good.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

that's just it, most of these choices are made in haste. The law would slow it down, offer some counseling to the mommy, since that's what she is. Tell me, what's the difference in the Mommy killing it or someone else shooting/stabbing in her womb? The perp can do prison time for said offense, so why not the Mommy? Ok, so she waits until it's 2 minutes old and THEN kills it? What's the diff? It's murder either way, right? No one was "saving" anyone in the process. Did you know that if you're in the last trimester and you decide you don't want to keep it because of some abnormality, you can "arrange" to have it aborted at Vandy???? Seriously, this was mentioned to me when I was expecting our 5th child. I was 42, so there was a chance of a birth defect, so the doctor informed me of this option. Creepy, huh?

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

kool – Or are you blinded by the light?Mac – A child is a temporary problem? Glad I don’t live at your house!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yes, it is creepy. However, abortions will still happen whether it's legal or not. It will just go back to the dangerous coathanger type methods. Again, it's not for us or our government to make moral decisions about others. It's about freedom of choice.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

We're not outlawing all abortions....your doctor will find a way to get you one if you need it, but for gosh sakes, let's stop using them as birth control, ok? That's what was at the clinic 8 years ago..... we went around the room and answered her question. It was a birth control measure for the majority of the participants. And it should NEVER be done in haste. There were women there killing it because they wanted to "get back" at the daddy. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. 48 hours is reasonable, and if it's a time issue, your doctor can get you a D&C....

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Like I said blanket, they only care about life when it's inside the womb.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

When a female has an abortion, it's just a glob of mucus at that point. It's not even a baby yet during time a female is eligible to have an abortion. Beside, what you don't see, you don't miss.

By: Mom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Such a good point about privacy and choice. We should turn ALL the rapists and murderers loose from their prison cells because it's their business who they kill and rape. The government should respect their privacy and choices too. If we cannot defent these precious babies from these murderers who call themselves "pro-choicers

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

mom, that's a simply ridiculous statement and i have a feeling you know it. if you strongly disagree with abortion, great, that's your choice. thank goodness we have choices, right?

By: Mom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The scary thing is, it's not ridiculous. It's the flaw in logic that pro-choicers refuse to see.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Listen to mom, she's always right. She's also the cause of many mental impairments if Freud was right.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

that's your opinion, which is fine. everyone should have one. however, i see a flaw in your logic. which is my opinion. comparing a woman who gets an abortion is by no means the same caliber as a rapist or murderer. btw, i'm being respectful of your opinion, please do not get snippy with me for mine.

By: Mom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

If the government is not there to protect and defend, then what ARE they there for?? Please tell me how the government can serve its purpose without setting limits? You simply cannot have it both ways. Either they give us restrictions or they butt out altogether and we go with anarchy. As much as we would like to think we have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies and lives, that just isn't true. We have to do what God says is right and He certainly does not smile at us killing the babies He is creating. We are not the authority. Even the government is not the ultimate authority. God is. But God DID place the government over us to rule us and guide us. Do we always have to agree with them? NO! But we must obey they as long as they are not asking us to disobey God. And abortion is a direct violation of GOD'S law!