(NASHVILLE, TN), March 29, 2011 — The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted 6 to 3 to give Tennesseans the opportunity to restore their voice in determining what state law should be regarding commonsense protections for abortions. The measure, Senate Joint Resolution 127, addresses a State Supreme Court decision in 2000 that struck down provisions in Tennessee law allowing women to receive “informed consent” information about the surgery and to wait 48 hours before they receive an abortion.
The court also ruled against a state requirement that all abortions after the first trimester be performed in a hospital. That ruling made Tennessee more liberal than the U.S. Supreme Court required in Roe v. Wade and made the right to abortion a “fundamental right” in Tennessee.
“I am pleased that this resolution has been approved by our Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Senator Beavers. “This would enable Tennessee to begin the process to restore the right of the people to decide through their elected legislature what protections should be in place regarding abortions. The only way to restore these protections is to change the constitution and give the legislature authority to write commonsense laws.”
The resolution would allow citizens to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to say that the right to an abortion is only protected under the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. It would give the people the right, through their elected state representatives and senators, to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape, incest or life of the mother. The practical effect of the legislation would be to bring Tennessee back into a position of neutrality so the people’s elected representatives can decide within the bounds of federal decisions what protections can be put into place.