FROM STAFF REPORTS
House Republican leaders, including Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station), applauded a Federal Appeals Court decision this week upholding the way a vote was conducted on a constitutional amendment that would allow restrictions on abortion.
According to the amendment, passed in 2014, “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 or 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 amendment was challenged on the grounds that the way ballots were counted in order to validate the election, requiring an amendment vote to be tied to a gubernatorial election, was unconstitutional. The federal court upheld the method.
“Today’s ruling is a tremendous victory for the citizens of this state and for our most innocent,” Chairman Williams said in a press release after the decision was handed down. “As Republican leaders, we have a responsibility to support measures that ensure all life is protected, especially our unborn children.”
More votes were cast on Amendment I than were cast in the 2014 governor’s race — a clear sign that Tennesseans haven been and remain passionate about pro-life issues. Amendment I initially passed by 53 percent of voters in November 2014.
House Republicans during the 2017 legislative session passed the Tennessee Infants Protection Act; this initiative prohibits abortions after 24 weeks — except in medical emergency —and requires testing to determine viability of an unborn child if a women is at least 20 weeks pregnant. It also holds physicians who perform late-term abortions accountable for their actions.
“The people of Tennessee have spoken, and we hear them loud and clear,” Casada said. “We will continue to fight for our unborn children and give them a voice in our General Assembly because we respect life and the beliefs of the majority of the citizens of this state.”