Amendment 1 passes in Tennessee

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Voters have decided to amend Tennessee’s constitution in regards to abortion, with 53 percent supporting Amendment 1.

The amendment reads:

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.

Its passage enables lawmakers to enact more abortion restrictions, and may impact privacy protections that the state Supreme Court has ruled extend to women seeking abortions.

Tennessee lawmakers have already passed some regulations, including one in 2012 that says doctors who perform abortions must also have hospital admitting privileges.

Also, as of July 1, doctors can’t call or video conference patients who have been prescribed medication to induce abortion, a minor’s parent must consent before an abortion is performed, health plans offered on the state’s health exchange can’t provide abortion coverage, and public funding for abortion is only available in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.

The state Supreme Court has, on constitutional grounds, struck down three measures passed by Tennessee lawmakers: mandatory waiting periods, mandatory distribution of materials about fetal development to women seeking abortions, and a requirement that second-trimester abortions be performed in hospitals.

Tennessee currently has seven abortion clinics, most of which, including CHOICES in Memphis, are licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers. Two are classified as private practices due to a 2002 court ruling.

Cathy Waterbury, the Yes on 1 Shelby County coordinator, said, “Certainly our hope is that the abortion facilities would be regulated, they would be licensed, they would be inspected as any other stand-alone surgery center is required to be by out state. Abortion would then, as a result, be safer for women in our state that are seeking to have abortions.”

Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, said, “Any legislation that comes down the pipe that puts barriers between women and their healthcare, we are going to fight it. We are going to keep our coalition together and our army across the state, and we are going to keep standing up to women and their rights for legal healthcare.”

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said in a statement, “With tonight’s narrow passage of Amendment 1, we know state legislators are poised to begin restricting access to comprehensive reproductive health care in Tennessee during the next legislative session.  But we are prepared to mobilize against measures that serve only to create barriers to health care service.  The robust, statewide grassroots coalition we’ve built throughout this campaign will continue to amplify constituents’ voices to our elected officials. Politicians need to know that extreme, medically-irrelevant laws will be strongly opposed by voters.”


  • Harold

    Few, if any, abortions are for reproductive care. Most cause infertility(worst case) or problem pregnancies down the road.

    • Leah

      Harold, maybe you should do some research and fact-checking before you post! From the Guttmacher Institute… ‘When performed under proper medical conditions by trained personnel in a hygienic setting, abortion is an extremely safe procedure. Fewer than 1% of all U.S. abortion patients experience a major complication and the risk of death associated with abortion is 10 times as low as that associated with childbirth. (34) However, when the procedure is performed by an unskilled person, or in an environment not conducive to safe medical circumstances, it is considered unsafe. The risk of death associated with unsafe abortion worldwide is 30 deaths per 100,000 live births and abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of such problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.”

      • Harold

        And this law allows the state to licence, inspect and insure the facility is up to par and doctors who perform these abortions are competent and have the ability to admit patients into a hospital in a more efficient manner, therefor assuring a safer experience for those who elect to kill their kid.

    • Donaknowsitall

      Harold, I don’t know where you get your information from, but you are very much wrong. There is nothing wrong with having an abortion if that is what a woman wants, maybe she’s not ready for children, maybe her concraception didn’t work, maybe she was raped. It’s none of anyone else’s business. It’s also not true that having an abortion (most) cause problems with pregnancy later, in fact, I know several people that have had abortions at one time or another in their life, and have gone one to have children when they are ready.

    • Andy

      These are both factually incorrect statements. There is no evidence of any future complications being linked to voluntary abortions.

      This is the kind of fear mongering, misinformation that allowed Amendment 1 to be passed in the first place.

      You cannot spew your own beliefs as fact without scientific evidence to support it. By doing so, you are using a serious issue trivially to support your own agenda, and it is wrong.

    • No

      Oh Harold, love how men, especially men who aren’t doctors or women, love spew nonsense on the subject of abortion and women’s healthcare. Abortions are very safe procedures, all this amendment is is about control. Perhaps you should do some research on the devastation that occurred when abortions were illegal in the US. Many women died as a result of botched illegal abortions (aka coat hangar abortions). I really hope for the women of Tennessee’s sake that that doesn’t start happening again, and I hope other states don’t get the idea to start passing this all over. It’s scary that women could be denied life saving abortions, and can have the government tell them “no you can’t have an abortion, because your reason isn’t good enough, sorry”. But, I guess that’s “pro-life” even if it kills you.

  • Sylvia Cox

    Harold … you are wrong. If the time comes when the government tells you when you have to get a vasectomy or the government starts limiting your access to viagra or cialis, then you might figure out that it is actually WRONG for government to interfere with your personal health decisions.

  • Red Skirt

    this is a horrible outcome. I feel sick that this passed. A big thanks to all the people that fought against it. Now beings a new fight as this will hurt so many women in this state.

      • Red Skirt

        Perhaps you should be forced to carry the baby of a raped woman or have the burden of taking care of that child emotionally and financially. After that ask your question again.

      • Harold

        @ RED SKIRT Adoption???? Councilors ????? I’m not saying there’s never a reason to kill the child, just , in my opinion, has to be extraordinary circumstance. Allow me to again state my question and expand upon it. How is this going to hurt women?

      • Red Skirt

        Councilor ???? For what? Making you accept something someone else decides for you? That’s stupid. And the beginning of your comment answers it’s our question, there are circumstance that warrant the termination if the pregnancy. This amendment makes no exception. Well I hope your next move is building more adoptin facilities, making more jobs with better for those that now have no chioce but to have the child. Increase social services instead of cutting them. All those babies have to eat you know not just be birthed. This is going to have long term consequences that you obviously don’t realize or care about.

  • Terrie

    I hate it was passed also. The Gov. has enough say so as it is. It’s not so much about abortion but more about keeping the gov. out of my business. Harold, you’re a man. You’ll never understand. A woman having a choice without ridicule is worth so much more then you know.

    • SimonSaysNo

      So, you’re saying ask a 7 week old child? You do realize that’s when most women have abortions? It’s NOT crawling at that point.

  • Arguenot

    I wish this story had mentioned how many voted for and how many against.
    I believe regulation of clinics not a bad idea. There have been enough horror stories of “reputable” clinics that get raided and absolutely nightmarish conditions found.

  • Julian

    This is how I look at this, if just one life is saved due to the passage of this amendment and future restrictions/regulations on abortion clinics, it will be well worth it. I’ll pray for more.


    What we know without a doubt is: A FETUS IS HUMAN LIFE. Aborting a fetus kills that fetus. Killing not done for self defense is murder. End of lesson.


    My wife was an “Unwanted pregnancy”. Can’t imagine life without her and our children. One life touches so many. Who are those who believe abortion is inconsequential?

  • whitecowarddevils

    I dont approve of abortion but the state is wrong on this one. My thing is all parties involved in conception should be consulted before abortion. No woman under 18 should be allowed without advising the custodial parents, only performed by a doctor in good standing but not restricted beyond that and unless someone disagreeing is going to raise said child in question we should mind our own business myself included

    • Life>Choice

      I respect your opinion but if there is no imminent threat to having the child then the woman should not be allowed to kill it. If neither the baby nor the woman will die, she should have the baby and put it up for adoption. They deserve a chance at life. My girlfriend would have been aborted if not for her mothers grandmother forcing her to have the baby. You all need to thank your lucky stars that your parents decided to have you otherwise you wouldn’t even be here to talk on this issue.

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