Here in my home state of Tennessee, there’s not much of interest statewide on the ballot. Incumbent Republican governor Bill Haslam and [mc_name name=’Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’A000360′ ] are expected to cruise to easy victories. None of the U.S. House races are expected to generate any huge surprises. Even most of the state legislature races are comparatively quiet. But there are still important ballot measures that should drive conservative Tennessee voters to the polls tomorrow.
The first and most important of these is Amendment 1. Amendment 1 touches on abortion and thus has been the subject of some of the most dishonest campaigning of this entire election season. What Amendment 1 actually does is extremely simple and should be non-controversial, but for the powerful and well-funded abortion lobby.
Virtually everywhere in the country, if you go to an outpatient surgery center for a day surgery – say, for instance, to have a hernia repaired or to have your gall bladder removed – the surgery center in question will be subject to regulation by your state’s Department of Health. They will be periodically inspected for cleanliness and compliance with codes and regulations, and they will be required to comply with certain directives, such as ensuring that hallways are wide enough to accommodate stretchers, etc. Likewise, they will usually be required to have physicians on staff who have admitting privileges at hospitals within a certain distance so that in case of complications, patients can be immediately admitted rather than trying to call around and find a doctor who will take the patient in question at the hospital.
However, thanks to absurd Supreme Court jurisprudence and a powerful and well funded lobby, for many years the abortion industry – which is a subspecies of the outpatient surgery clinic, from a medical standpoint – has escaped virtually any health-related scrutiny. When the curtain was finally raised on the carnival of horrors that took place inside Kermit Gosnell’s abortion butcher shop, however, states around the country began to understand that maybe it would be a good idea to regulate abortion clinics just like other outpatient surgery clinics, for the sake of preserving the health and safety of women (which is the stated goal of the abortion industry to begin with).
Predictably, however, the abortion industry has fought tooth and nail against these common sense regulations throughout the country, for the simple reason that (like all regulations), compliance with them costs money. The protection of the health of women has been cast to the wayside for the sake of the profit margin of abortion clinics.
In Tennessee, they have also had the active aid of the Tennessee Supreme Court, which has ruled that the Tennessee State Constitution contains a greater right to privacy than the Federal constitution, and thus no regulation on abortion will pass muster under the Federal constitution. The Tennessee Supreme Court’s reasoning is facially erroneous on this count, and Amendment 1 seeks to undo that.
The text of Amendment 1 very simply says that the Tennessee State Constitution will be amended to make clear that nothing in the Tennessee Constitution prevents the legislature from enacting reasonable regulations on the abortion industry. It does not, as the many blatantly false ads that have been run against it suggest, indicate that abortion will become illegal in Tennessee, even in the case of rape and incest. Even if Amendment 1 said this (which it does not), it would be unconstitutional under the United States Constitution and thus void. Any and all regulations passed under Amendment 1 would still have to pass muster under the Federal judiciary system. Thus, any restriction that impinged on the substantive practice of abortion would doubtless be immediately struck down under federal jurisprudence.
However, restrictions requiring regular inspections of abortion clinics for compliance with safety and health standards, and requiring that these clinics have a doctor on staff with admitting privileges to a local hospital WOULD likely pass muster, and thus the health and safety of women who are getting abortions would be more effectively served.
Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life is irrelevant. Amendment 1 will not prohibit a single abortion from occurring in Tennessee. What it will do is make sure those abortions are safer. The only reason anyone should oppose Amendment 1 is if the profit margin of the abortion industry is more important to them than the health and safety of women.
Don’t be fooled by the propaganda – if you live in Tennessee, get out and vote tomorrow, and vote Yes on 1.