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November 5, 2014

Amendment 1 passes in a clear urban/rural divide

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Written by: News Staff
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Tennessee took a step back for women with the passage of Amendment 1 on the November ballot. The amendment makes the state the fourth one to add the word “abortion” to its constitution.

Voters in Davidson County opposed the bill by a 201 margin, and voters in Knox, Shelby and Hamilton counties also opposed the bill. The rural counties, however, cast overwhelming support for the measure which passed with 53% of the vote. A clear divide between urban and rural counties emerged.

opinionThis was easily the most contentious of the four Amendments on the ballot. While it will not have an immediate effect on Tennessee’s abortion policy, it will give extend the power of legislators to enact regulations and implement restrictions on abortions in the future.

Affirming its “life is sacred” policy, Tennessee Right To Life rejoiced in the bill’s passage which they view as a “necessary first step” in protections for the unborn. The group will now move forward with a package of laws, defeated in 2000, that will require waiting periods, education and a myriad of regulations regarding abortions. The group endorses the idea of “personhood.”

Pro-choice voters and Planned parenthood hold a different point of view and see passage of the law as eroding the right “to safe and legal abortion.”

The campaign generated $5 million dollars in donations and the amendment question was the most expensive on the bill, securing donations from in and out of the state.

As a child of the 60s, and obviously beyond child-bearing age, I cannot help but flinch at the prospect of having anyone’s right to an abortion interfered with. At its very core, the right to a safe abortion is strictly between a woman and her doctor. It is not the state’s business to crawl into a woman’s body and say what she can or cannot do with it. It’s not something that can be legislated. No one knows all the circumstances surrounding a pregnancy, but now the state has the potential to judge one thing: personhood.

Today feels like a return to the dark ages pre Roe v Wade. The fact is that men can walk away and too many have walked away from pregnancies, leaving women to deal with an aftermath that lasts a lifetime. Nowhere is there a provision – financial, emotional or otherwise for after the child is born.

I can easily see where this law is heading. The support for Amendment 1 that came primarily from the state’s rural counties makes me ashamed to live here. One of my most cherished rights, and rights of my daughter, granddaughters and great granddaughter to have the option of controlling our own bodies has been irrevocably changed.

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