Though abortion is not mentioned in the Tennessee Constitution, a divided state Supreme Court strangely ruled in 2000 that the Tennessee Constitution guarantees an even stronger “right” to abortion than the abortion “rights” created out of thin air by the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
So it is encouraging that overwhelming majorities in the state Senate and House of Representatives have approved a 2014 ballot referendum that would undo the state Supreme Court ruling in favor of abortion “rights.”
The referendum will state: “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.”
Tragically, because of the Roe v. Wade decision, many abortions will remain legal in Tennessee even if the referendum passes in 2014.
Nevertheless, it is appropriate for lawmakers and voters to make it abundantly clear that Tennessee’s Constitution itself does not in fact declare abortion a “right.”
It will be three years before the referendum appears on the ballot. But it should enjoy overwhelming support from the residents of Tennessee.