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Proposed Abortion Ban in Tennessee

After over 10 years of trying, members of the Tennessee General Assembly who oppose abortion without exception succeeded in passing proposed constitutional amendment that will remove privacy rights and potentially ban abortion in Tennessee.  The language of the proposed amendment is deliberately misleading in an attempt o trick voters into believing that exceptions would be in place for cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. In fact, it simply states that the legislature has the authority and ability to pass laws in the future regarding those circumstances if they choose to.

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This is the full language of the proposed amendment:

"Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or require 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."

Anti-choice members of the General Assembly claim that abortion is completely unregulated in Tennessee and argue that the amendment is necessary in order for them to place restrictions on or regulate access to abortion. However, the Assembly has been passing laws for years that do just that. In addition to already existing informed consent laws, a few of the current restrictions on abortion in Tennessee include the following:

  • parental consent for minors seeking abortion
  • a requirement that surgical abortions be done in licensed Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Centers
  • that physicians who perform abortion must have admitting privileges at a local hospital
  • abortion facilities must post signs saying that women can't be coerced into having an abortion

In November 2014, voters across Tennessee will be asked to vote on this amendment.

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