All eyes are on Tennessee. Tennessee is known as the Volunteer State, Music City USA, home of Elvis Presley, Beale Street, the buckle of the Bible belt, and the Great Smokey Mountains. Now it has another moniker…abortion destination of the Southeast. Tennessee ranks as the third state nationally for out of state women coming to get their abortions.
This occurred because the ACLU and Planned Parenthood sued the people of Tennessee in a lawsuit known as Planned Parenthood vs. Sundquidst. Planned Parenthood sued to remove three regulations around abortion that had been voted into place by bi-partisan legislators. These were informed consent, 48 hour waiting period, and that later term abortions must be done in hospital settings. The ruling was announced September 15, 2000 in their favor by the TN Supreme Court, and with it a broad right to an abortion in our state Constitution was discovered. This prevented any regulation from being enforced that could not pass a strict scrutiny standard.
This lawsuit emboldened an abortionist who opened two facilities to sue when the Department of Health tried to inspect the centers and demand that he meet the standards of same day surgery centers. He prevailed in court by saying he was operating under a doctor’s office license and did not have to meet these regulations unless he performed a substantial number of abortions. The court did not define what constitutes a substantial number leaving it unanswered; so he was now free to operate using this loophole. Others followed suit. Just google how to get an abortion in Tennessee, the two unregulated centers pop up on the top of the list. They even offer a discount coupon for out of state women coming for abortions.
The dissenting judge from the 2000 decision advised the only remedy for the people was to enact an amendment to the constitution stating that it was silent on the issue of abortion and allowing the people to once again speak through their elected legislators to enact regulations around abortions. Amending the Constitution is an arduous process. It must pass the General Assembly by a simple majority, followed by a super majority, appear on the ballot in a year that a Governor is elected and pass by at least 50% plus one of the number of votes cast for Governor.
Game on in Tennessee. This is a watershed moment. If Tennesseans prevail, it will encourage 15 other states that were similarly attacked in the courts by the abortion industry to follow our lead. If it fails, it will embolden the abortion industry to attack the remaining 34 states as needed with their winning strategy.
The campaign to vote No is calling their out of state forces for support. 94% of their donations are from other state affiliates of Planned Parenthood and their ally ACLU. The Yes on One forces have strong grassroots but are being outspent 3-1.
The abortion industry is blanketing the media market with ads leaving the strong impression that this amendment would ban abortion even in the case of the mother’s life. The second ad is just as egregious. It infers that a rape victim may be denied an abortion. They are acting like Roe vs. Wade never happened. Either that or they are treating Tennesseans like they are civically illiterate.