Why Tennesseans MUST Vote Yes on Amendment 1
In 2000, four justices on the Tennessee Supreme court decided that the right to an abortion is a fundamental right and would be added to the Tennessee state constitution. This made Tennessee 1 of 16 states that has a state constitutional right to abortion. The affects of this decision have been detrimental to not only the health and safety of women and unborn children, but to the democracy and other rights guaranteed to the people as US Citizens.
Before 2000, everybody had a voice. There was an open forum of discussion on the topic of abortion, and people were able to exercise their right to freedom of speech to the fullest extent. However, in 2000, that debate was shut down. Essentially the court decided that one side had won, and made it a constitutional right. No matter what your beliefs are on abortion, no one should believe that it is okay for the government to silence any one of its citizens and for that we should all be outraged.
Unfortunately, freedom of speech is not the only thing that has been damaged due to the Supreme Court’s decision. The protection of women and unborn children has been significantly harmed. The Supreme Courts decision struck down three laws. The first law they struck down was the Abortion-Specific Informed Consent law. This means that women no longer have to be informed about the procedure, the side effects, or the possible damage it could cause them. The next is the waiting-period law. This means women can immediately decide to have an abortion before they have time to reflect and make sure that this is really what they want to do. Lastly, it struck down the law requiring hospitalization for late-term abortions. This means that second and third term abortions, despite being significantly more dangerous, no longer have to be performed in a hospital. As a woman, I fear that we have placed our trust in a government who does not care about our protection.
If all of that was not enough, this decision has still caused more damage. Currently, Tennessee does not require physician owned and operated abortion facilities to be licensed and inspected. And because of all the liberty that has been granted with the right to an abortion, the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortions cannot be completely constitutionally unjust in Tennessee as our State Constitution allows for some. And in the future, taxpayers, despite their beliefs, could be forced to have their tax dollars spent on abortions for those who could not afford it.
How could the Tennessee government do this to its people? It is time for us to take a stand. The hand of the government has reached too far. Passing amendment one would simply open the discussion back up and hopefully allow the government to take a different path. It could potentially restore the laws and protection to women that was taken away in 2000. It would restore the voice to the people, which allows us Tennesseans to be the people.
Darby Hobbs is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University majoring in Political Science and Communications. Carol Swain is Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University and is an honorary chair of the “Yes on 1” Campaign.