Director of Community Affairs
Published: 05.20.11| Updated: 05.20.11
Director of Community Affairs
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region strongly criticized a resolution approved today by the Tennessee House of Representatives designed to take away women’s rights guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.
The state House today voted 76-18 for Senate Joint Resolution 127, to place the government between a woman and her physician. The proposed constitutional amendment will change Tennessee’s Constitution to allow politicians to enact unreasonable, intrusive restrictions on women if they seek abortion, or even outlaw the procedure altogether in the future.
To be enacted, the amendment must now win the approval of a majority of those voting in the governor’s election in 2014. The amendment is designed to counteract a 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that found a right to privacy without government interference is implicit in the Tennessee Constitution. If approved, SJR 127 will allow the Tennessee General Assembly to enact excessive, costly restrictions on abortion rights, including waiting periods or sonogram requirements that are not medically necessary, but are designed to make it difficult or impossible for a Tennessee woman to terminate a pregnancy.
The language of the proposed amendment contains no real guaranteed exceptions for women whose pregnancies result from rape or incest or whose lives are endangered. In fact today, the House voted down an amendment proposed by Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, that would have guaranteed exceptions for rape, incest or life endangerment. The wording that passed leaves it entirely up to politicians in Nashville to decide what if any conditions or exceptions may be allowed.
“SJR127 puts state government firmly in between a woman, her family and her doctor in what should be a private health decision,” said PPGMR President Barry Chase. “SJR127 does nothing to reduce the high rate of unintended pregnancies—58% of all pregnancies in Tennessee are unintended. SJR127 does nothing to address that problem. It does nothing to improve access to comprehensive sexuality education or affordable birth control, which would prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the need for abortion. Instead, SJR127 will restrict access to a legal medical procedure and put the lives and health of Tennessee women at risk. Politicians in Nashville show no respect to Tennessee women and they cannot be trusted to make decisions about intimate health issues that affect women’s families and lives.”
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region strongly opposes SJR127, a politically motivated attack on Tennessee women, their rights and their health.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 42 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.