There are few states more pro-life than Tennessee. When you poll my friends and neighbors (I live in Columbia, Tenn., perhaps best-known as the “Mule Capital of the World”), you’ll find that 70 percent of Tennesseans would like to ban abortion in all cases or in all cases except rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake. That’s a solid pro-life majority.
So Tennessee should be leading the nation in aggressive pro-life legislation, right? It should be joining Texas, Mississippi, Virginia, and other states in protecting women from Gosnell-style abortion mills and should be ensuring that abortion isn’t treated more casually than tattoos or piercings, right?
The Tennessee supreme court (long dominated by the Left — a holdover from Tennessee’s days as a blue-dog Democrat state) has decreed that the Tennessee Constitution protects abortion rights to a greater extent than the United States Supreme Court has protected the federal right to abortion. In plain English, this means that Tennessee has become a veritable abortion supermarket, with women traveling to evade pro-life regulations in neighboring states. Tennessee is a Gosnell scandal waiting to happen.
Enter Amendment 1, on the ballot this November. Supported by Governor Bill Haslam and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, it represents Tennessee’s best chance to restore sanity to Tennessee’s abortion laws. The key language is simple: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” The amendment reserves the ability to regulate abortion to the people of the state – through their elected representatives — taking it out of the hands of the state supreme court.
But the abortion mills — flush with taxpayer dollars — won’t easily surrender their Tennessee cash flow.
Fearful of losing their southern supermarket, the abortion industry is starting to flood money into the state. Pro-abortion forces are calling pro-life activists the “Tennessee Taliban,” and “Vote No on One” is seeking to spend double the amount of pro-life spending. Money is already flowing from the ACLU in New York and Planned Parenthood chapters from as far away as Seattle.
The pro-life movement is making enormous progress across the South. While leftist radicals are fond of chanting “this is what democracy looks like” during their street protests, southern voters are demonstrating actual democracy in action, doing the hard work of persuading their fellow citizens, working with lawmakers, and passing laws — protecting the lives and health of mother and child alike.
Until now, the state supreme court has shut down pro-life democracy in Tennessee. With Amendment 1, voters have a rare chance to overrule a pro-abortion court. I pray they can see through well-funded abortion industry deception and take that chance — take the chance to preserve and protect the most innocent lives.
This post first appeared on National Review Online