Not to be overshadowed once again by its taller, skinnier sister Mississippi or its more popular cousin Ohio, Tennessee is reminding the rest of America that it, too, can suck with the best of them. State lawmakers have successfully introduced a provision to the 2014 ballot that would amend the state's constitution to allow legislators to restrict or outlaw abortion. I guess when they say "The Volunteer State," they don't mean the type of volunteer who escorts patients to Planned Parenthood; they mean the type of volunteer who helpfully offers to vote for other people's rights to be taken away.
Fox's Memphis affiliate reports that the proposed amendment reads thusly,
proposes new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in the constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion; states that 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.
Supporters of the word jambalaya of a constitutional amendment, called SJR 127, say that it will simply give lawmakers the power they require to appropriately regulate abortions. Detractors call bullshit, saying it opens the door for an abortion ban and allows Tennessee politicians to crawl up in everyone's uterus and have a look around. Pro lifers are, predictably, overjoyed.
Anti-abortion activists have fought for a decade to get something like this on the state's ballot. In 2000, the Tennessee state Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers could not restrict abortion there; the right to abortion is guaranteed by the state constitution. (Damn pesky constitutions!) Fortunately for the forced pregnancy brigade, constitutions are amendable, and states' constituents have the right to do with their constitution what they see fit, and if SJR 127 receives an absolute majority from Tennessee voters in 2014, the amendment will go into effect. Safe, effective, and affordable amendments on demand!
If only they felt the same about women making decisions about their own bodies.
Tennessee to Vote on Abortion Law [MyFox Memphis]