Backers of the amendment were jubilant, embracing at the offices of Tennessee Right to Life, the campaign headquarters for the effort. "Obviously for those of us who believe life is sacred, this was the necessary first step toward protection not only for the unborn but for women and girls who fall prey to people looking to profit from untimely or unexpected pregnancies," said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life and a coordinator for the "Yes on 1" campaign, who has devoted much of the past 14 years fighting for the measure to get on the ballot.
Opponents on Tuesday night called the measure a "dangerous ballot measure that strips away the state's established right to safe and legal abortion" and vowed abortion rights supporters "will not stand for restrictions that serve only to create barriers to service," said Ashley Coffield, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood — Greater Memphis Region.
The abortion measure drew the close attention of national groups on both sides of the abortion divide — and large contributions from abortion rights advocates outside the state concerned not only about the impact in Tennessee, but beyond its borders. One in four abortions in Tennessee is sought by a woman from out of state. Proponents of the measure called on Tennessee voters to end the state's status as an "abortion destination."
CMDA Member and Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology C. Brent Boles, MD: “The votes have been counted and Amendment 1 is now part of Tennessee’s Constitution. This amendment corrects the poor decision made by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000 in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist, in which four of five justices decided that Tennessee’s Constitution had stronger protections for abortion than the U.S. Constitution. Since that decision, the Tennessee legislature has been unable to pass meaningful regulation having to do with abortion in our state. As a result, the abortion industry was not accountable to the state’s Department of Health in any significant way. Now, the Tennessee legislature can work to protect vulnerable women from being victimized by the abortion industry and reduce the number of innocent babies lost every year in Tennessee. I hope we will see a restoration of a standard informed consent process and a brief waiting period, as well as the health department’s ability to enforce the same patient safety standards respected by all of legitimate medicine.
“How did the amendment pass? Planned Parenthood poured millions into the state to defeat this amendment because its passage was a threat to the abortion industry’s business model. They outspent the amendment’s supporters 2 to 1. Supporters of Amendment 1 couldn’t outspend Planned Parenthood, but they did outwork Planned Parenthood. A tremendous grassroots effort all over the state resulted in success.
“One of the key pieces resulting in success was the involvement of churches. Success for life and for women in Tennessee shows we can begin to see the tide turn if the church in America will find its voice. How can Christian healthcare professionals play a role? Paul tells us in Romans 12 that we are all parts of Christ’s body and we all have roles to play, and he admonishes us to fulfill our roles with diligence.
“Christian healthcare professionals are in a unique position to make a difference on this issue across the country. We are leaders in our churches and communities. Legislators listen when we call. Pro-abortion forces do not hesitate to use pro-abortion physicians in this fight on both the state and federal levels to promote the abortion industry’s many deceptions. We can do no less. The church has been silent on social issues in America for far too long, and if the church is to truly be salt and light in today’s society, then it is incumbent upon Christian healthcare professionals as members of Christ’s body to take the lead on the issue of life. Successful passage of Amendment 1 is cause for praising our God, but it is not the last chapter in the story of abortion in America. Now is the time to not only stand firm, but to also press forward at every opportunity. It may be that the church is finding its voice once again, and we as Christian healthcare professionals need to be part of the choir.”
CMDA Abortion Ethics Statement
Remember to Remember: The Modern Implications of Abortion by Dr. John Patrick