No on 1: TN Legislature Already Has Authority to Regulate Abortion

Press release from the Vote No on One – Tennessee Campaign; October 17, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – In yesterday’s Shelbyville Times-Gazette, Yes on 1’s director of church outreach, Katy Brown, said of Amendment 1, “Voting yes on 1 would only mean that the Legislature would have the authority to make changes to abortion laws.”

This statement is simply not true–Tennessee state legislators already have the power to make or change abortion laws, as long as they do not violate a woman’s right to access reproductive healthcare. Instead, Amendment 1 would take away that right and give Tennessee legislators unlimited authority to pass medically unnecessary restrictions, cutting off access with no exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or health of the woman.

As the Knoxville News Sentinel editorial board wrote this week: “The state Legislature already has the power to regulate abortion. In fact, a measure requiring any physician performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital went into effect this year.”

The independent editorial board is referring to a law passed in 2012 called the “Life Defense Act”, which passed the Tennessee State Legislature and was signed into statute. The Legislature has also recently passed a law prohibiting the use of telemedicine to prescribe medication for abortion remotely.

These are the facts. They have been cited in staff editorials in each of the state’s four biggest newspapers because they are grounded in the reality of our state law. Amendment 1 would not give the Legislature the power to regulate safe and legal abortions–it would give them the unlimited power to take them away.