(NASHVILLE, TN), June 22, 2011 — Governor Bill Haslam stood with pro-life lawmakers today to mark the signing of legislation that will give Tennesseans the opportunity to restore their voice in determining what state law should be regarding abortions. Prime Sponsor Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) said Senate Joint Resolution 127 addresses a State Supreme Court decision in 2000 that struck down commonsense provisions in Tennessee law allowing women to receive “informed consent” information about the surgery and to wait 48 hours before they receive an abortion.
“This legislation, or similar measures, have been pending for the past decade since the decision was handed down,” said Senator Beavers. “I am very pleased that this resolution is finally on its way to voters for their approval so that we can restore commonsense provisions regarding our state’s abortion law.”
The state Supreme Court also ruled against a Tennessee 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.
“The resolution we have sent to voters allows 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,” added Beavers. “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 provisions can be put into place.”
The resolution must be approved by the people on the next gubernatorial ballot and receive a plurality of votes cast in that election to amend the Tennessee Constitution. That will occur in November 2014.