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Tennessee Amendments 101

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NASHVILLE - Opponents of the proposed Tennessee constitutional amendment on abortion have outspent supporters this month by more than 3-to-1, according to new financial disclosures.

From Oct. 1 through Oct. 25, the Vote No on 1 organization unleashed $3.43 million in spending, including some $1.95 million for television advertising, according to the group's disclosure with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

The Yes on 1 group, meanwhile, spent $1.04 million in their battle to give the state Legislature new powers to regulate abortion.

Proponents claim enacting the amendment would restore protections for women stripped from the Tennessee Constitution by a 2000 state Supreme Court ruling. Opponents say it would insert politics in a decision that belongs to women, their families and physicians.

The Vote No on 1 committee reported more than $2 million in contributions from Oct. 1 to Oct 25. Most of the money came from Planned Parenthood organizations in Tennessee, Florida, California and Massachusetts. A Washington state group gave $750,000.

The Vote Yes on 1 committee raised $670,825, with the largest single donation coming from John Gregory. The social conservative from Bristol, Tenn., whose family once owned a pharmaceutical company gave $150,000.

Glenn Morris Jr., of Chattanooga, CEO of industrial-container manufacturer M&M Industries, and John Zeiser, of Signal Mountain, president of paperboard packaging manufacturer Southern Champion Tray, each gave $10,000 to the Vote Yes effort.

A Middle Tennessee State University poll released this week shows 39 percent of registered voters backed Amendment 1 while 32 percent opposed it. Some 14 percent either didn't plan to vote on the amendment or wouldn't say how they will vote.

That means the amendment's passage comes down to the 15 percent who said they were undecided. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at or 615-255-0550.