Tenn. To Vote on Antiabortion Ballot Measure in 2014

November 8, 2011 — Tennessee voters in 2014 will consider a state constitutional amendment (SJR 127) that seeks to expand the state's ability to restrict abortion rights, My Fox Memphis reports. In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a right guaranteed by the state constitution, meaning that lawmakers cannot ban or restrict the procedure.

The amendment would add a provision to the state constitution that "provide[s] that nothing in the constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion; states that 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."

Joan Carr of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region said, "I think it would open the door to all sorts of legislation that would restrict access to abortion, and possibly outright ban [it altogether] in Tennessee," including in cases of rape or incest. She added that the amendment would remove rights "from Tennessee women that we have in our Tennessee constitution that we've had since Tennessee became a state."

Sue Parker of Life Choices of Memphis said the amendment "primarily deals with some need to know information, informed consent, some things like knowing how far along a woman is in her pregnancy" (Lee, My Fox Memphis, 11/3).