Tennessee Legislative Powers Regarding Abortion, Amendment 1 (2014)
|Referred by:||Tennessee State Legislature|
|Status:||On the ballot|
- 1 Text of measure
- 2 Fiscal note
- 3 Background
- 4 Support
- 5 Opposition
- 6 Polls
- 7 Path to the ballot
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The Tennessee Legislative Powers Regarding Abortion, Amendment 1 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in the state of Tennessee as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would insert constitutional language empowering the legislature to enact, amend or repeal state statues regarding abortion, including for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to protect the mother's mortality.
In Tennessee, an initiated constitutional amendment must earn a majority of those voting on the amendment and "a majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor.”
Text of measure
|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.|
The fiscal note developed by the Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee reads as follows:
|“|| ESTIMATED FISCAL IMPACT:
In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist that the Tennessee Constitution contained a stronger right to privacy and abortion than even the U.S. Constitution. SJR 127, according to proponents, will modify the state constitution thus allowing the legislature to enact whatever regulations and restrictions permitted by the United States Supreme Court.
- 16,373 abortions were performed in Tennessee in 2010. This is a six percent decrease from a decade ago.
- In 2010, 24.5%, or roughly one-in-four, abortions were sought by women from other states. This is a 30% increase from a decade ago.
- The age group most likely to seek an abortion are 10-14. However, this does not mean that this age group has the most abortions, just that the group has the most abortions relative to live births.
- The age group with the most abortions, through not the most relative to live births, is 20-24.
- 47.9% of all abortions were performed on white patients. 73.8% of the total state population is white.
- 52.1% of all abortions were performed on non-white patients. 26.2% of the total state population is non-white.
The measure was introduced into the legislature by Sen. Mae Beavers (R-17).
- Tennessee Right to Life
- Alveda King
- Jim Bob Duggar
- Leslie Hunse, the education director for Tennessee Right to Life, argued, “We want our constitution to go back to neutral on the issue of abortion, so we can pass some common sense regulations to protect mothers and children. We are here because there are women who call us everyday who are sad about the abortions that they've had.”
- David Harper, an executive official for the state’s Democratic Party, said, “What it does—the bill is written very deceptively. And the bill effectively turns over all rights to the state legislature. If you look at that bill and look at what it says, it says exactly that. And the way it’s written is very hard to ascertain what it’s about. It’s not only about the abortion… there’s a real distinct difference between the right to birth and the right to life. So we are opposed to that bill in every way. And the reason for that is just simply, we trust people to have good judgments for themselves and we do not think that the state legislature should be the one making those decisions. They’re very personal and they’re very private. And we respect people to have their own judgments. Now we don’t necessarily agree with them—but we respect them, and we do not think that we should turn that over to the government.”
- Rev. Adam Kelchner, pastor at Belmont United Methodist Church, criticized the amendment, saying, “We should turn our hearts and our resources to empowering young people with the education and tools necessary to experience the sacred gift of sexuality with health and wholeness. We should value the rights of women and families to follow their conscience when making important decisions about reproductive health care with health-care professionals. We should work to ensure greater dignity and equity for all Tennesseans. The ballot initiative in November rejects a compassionate and just approach to abortion care and reproductive health. That is why I’ll be voting no on the initiative.”
- See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures
In December 2013, Vanderbilt University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions released polling date related to Amendment 1. Currently, the organization has only released data regarding those "in favor" of the amendment. The pollsters asked the following question:
|“||Next year, Tennessee residents will be asked to vote on an amendment to the state constitution that would allow the state legislature to pass laws that would make all abortions illegal. Do you favor giving the state legislature the constitutional authority to outlaw abortions under all circumstances, or do you oppose this?||”|
|Tennessee Amendment 1 (2014)|
|Poll||Favor||Oppose or Undecided||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
11/20/2013 - 12/05/2013
|Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to email@example.com|
Path to the ballot
- See also: Amending the Tennessee Constitution
The Tennessee General Assembly must approve a proposed amendment in two successive sessions. In the first session, the measure requires a simple majority for approval. In the second session, the proposed amendment must earn two-thirds vote for approval. SJR 127 was approved by the Tennessee Senate for a second time on April 18, 2011. SJR 127 was approved by the Tennessee House of Representatives for a second time on March 20, 2011.
April 18, 2011 Senate vote
|Tennessee SJR 127 Senate Vote|
May 20, 2011 House vote
|Tennessee SJR 127 House Vote|
- Tennessee General Assembly, "Senate Joint Resolution 127", accessed January 22, 2014
- Tennessee Supreme Court, “Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Don Sundquist, Governor of the State of Tennessee”, accessed 22, 2014
- Commercial Apparel, "Tennessee Senate advances abortion amendment", April 18, 2011
- The Tennessean, "Tennessee abortion numbers drop in past decade," February 18, 2014
- The Tennessean, "Database: Tennessee Abortion Statistics," April 18, 2012
- Vote Yes Tennessee
- Wall Street Journal, "Abortion Fight Hits Tennessee", November 24, 2013
- USA Today, "Campaigns begin push ahead of Tenn. abortion vote", November 4, 2013
- Nashville Public Radio, "Anti-Abortion Amendment to Go on Ballot in 2014", May 20, 2011
- WATE, "Activists launch campaigns for and against Tenn. abortion amendment", November 4, 2013
- WBIR, "Abortion battle looms in East Tennessee", January 22, 2014
- Chattanooga Times Free Press, "New group will fight Tennessee abortion amendment in 2014", March 11, 2013
- Macon County Times, "‘Yes On 1’ campaign in full swing", January 29, 2014
- The Tennessean, "Abortion services must not vanish", January 21, 2014
- Vanderbilt University, "Vanderbilt University Poll: November 20 - December 5", accessed January 23, 2015
- Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus, "SJR 127 to restore the people’s voice on state’s abortion laws receives super majority needed in Senate to be placed on ballot", April 18, 2011
State of Tennessee
|State executive officers||
Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Comptroller | Treasurer | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance| Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Environment & Conservation | Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development | Chairman of Regulatory Authority |