NASHVILLE - The 10-year battle is over in the Tennessee General Assembly regarding efforts to put a proposed amendment on the ballot that would amend the Tennessee Constitution regarding abortion.
But the referendum debate has only just begun over whether to make the state's constitution "neutral" on abortion rights.
Shortly after Senate Joint Resolution 127 passed the House today, Tennessee Family Action Council President David Fowler, a former Republican state senator who represented Hamilton County, lauded lawmakers for acting.
"In 2000, our activist state Supreme Court said there was hidden in the text of our state constitution a fundamental right to abortion and struck down as unconstitutional our state's informed consent and waiting period laws on abortion," Fowler said in a statement.
As a state senator at the time, Fowler said he joined with Tennessee Right to Life to sponsor Senate Joint Resolution 127, which he said would let Tennesseans vote for an amendment that would "restore neutrality to our state Constitution on the issue of abortion."
Abortion opponents have continued to use the same Senate joint resolution number, 127, in succeeding legislatures, in effect making it a brand.
"Now the real campaign starts - to make sure SJR 127 passes on the ballot in 2014," Fowler said in his statement. "Don't be lulled into thinking it will be easy in the face of opposition from national organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU"
Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee President Jeff Teague charged in his own news release that the resolution "is dangerous to health and lives of women we all know and love - our wives, daughters, sisters, friend and neighbors."
The proposed amendment "is about banning abortion," Teague said. "To say otherwise is insincere and, frankly, dishonest."
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.