Today is the Day- Vote Yes on Tennessee’s Pro-life Amendment 1

A vote YES is a vote for LIFE.

It is Election Day across our nation, but nowhere is this day more important than in Tennessee. Amendment 1 is set to change the landscape- not the mountains and the rivers, but the abyss of abortion that has become a key feature in our state.

Everything that could have been done has been done, and as with any campaign, there have been the scare tactics and fear-mongering about what Amendment 1 will do. Everything from, “Amendment 1 will outlaw abortion!” to, “Republicans are just trying to get into people’s bedrooms!” has been spewed. Some more intricate arguments have been had, about what the Hyde Amendment will allow or what the Tennessee Code Annotated says abortion facilities have to do, and how these things make Amendment 1 unnecessary. I’ve written about all of these, just click the links and you’ll see.

Considering all of the lies and inaccuracies, let me briefly explain Amendment 1 and why it is so important.

(Read all my posts about Amendment 1 here.)

First, here is what it says:

“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.”

In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist (PP v. Sundquist) that the Tennessee Constitution includes a “fundamental right” to abortion. Three laws were declared unconstitutional (required informed consent, required 48 hour waiting period, and required hospitalization for late term abortions), and in 2002 a fourth was declared unconstitutional in a separate case in appeals that cited PP v. Sundquist (required licensing of abortion providers as ambulatory surgical centers).

Here is why we need Amendment 1, in the words of Chief Justice William Barker, the only dissenting voice on the court at the time of PP v. Sundquist:

“Plainly stated, the effect of the Court’s holding today is to remove from the people all power, except by constitutional amendment, to enact reasonable regulations of abortion. Rather than leaving policy decisions regarding reasonable abortion regulation to the General Assembly, this Court has converted itself into a roving constitutional convention, which sees itself free to strike down the duly enacted laws of the legislature for no other reason than it feels they are burdensome and unwise.” (emphasis added)

Rather than outlawing abortion, Amendment 1 will set us back on par as a state with the 8 surrounding states in terms of being able to enact, amend, or repeal statues that impact the abortion industry. As it is, 25% of abortions done here in Tennessee, the third highest percentage of any state in the nation, are completed on women from outside the state. We are currently an abortion destination.

What’s next if Amendment 1 does not pass? Other common sense laws that are still in effect (namely parental consent requirements and prohibited state tax funding of elective abortions) WILL be challenged in court and WILL FALL due to this “fundamental right” the Supreme Court decided exists in our constitution. In reality, women and girls in our state only have a fundamental right to be misinformed, coerced, and endangered by the negligence of unethical abortion providers who have the right to operate as unabated abortion mills.

We have to have a majority of votes YES on Amendment 1 that equals 50% plus 1 vote of the number of total votes cast in the governor’s election. NOT VOTING AT ALL equates to a NO VOTE. The only thing that helps us win is a YES vote on Amendment 1.

Why should abortion be untouchable by regulation that will ensure basic adherence to ethical standards of care, like other medical centers? Could it be that abortion providers really aren’t providing medical care at all? Someone dies in 100% of every abortion performed- a child. Even in the case of exceptions for rape, incest, and medical necessity to save the life of the mother, the main reasons some cite the need for “safe, legal, and rare” abortion, shouldn’t time, care, and consideration be taken before the life of that child is ended? It is not the abortion industry’s job or interest to see that abortion is “safe, legal, and rare.” It is the job of the citizens of Tennessee, and passing Amendment 1 is priority 1 in this effort.

I don’t want Tennessee to remain an abortion destination. I and my family (my wife Julie, my boys, and my parents, Garey and Debbie Gaugh,), have worked with the Yes On 1 campaign to pass Amendment 1 for over a year to ensure this amendment has every opportunity to pass. We have prayed, fasted, talked (and talked and talked and talked!) and worked our hardest. We are not alone- we have had the privilege of meeting and befriending people from across the state who have given their all toward the goal of changing the landscape for life in Tennessee. And we are so much the better for having known everyone involved in Yes On 1. If Amendment 1 fails, this will still be true. And God will still be God, gracious and loving.

But what an opportunity we will have missed if we don’t pass Amendment 1 and bring life back to Tennessee.

I am thankful to Jesus Christ and to everyone who has given their all for Amendment 1. And I am thankful for you. Please vote YES on Amendment 1 and make the biggest difference for the sake of LIFE that you will ever make.


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