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Tennessee Abortion Amendment

The AP:

The state Senate on Thursday passed a proposal to amend the Tennessee Constitution so that it doesn’t guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion.

The 24-9 vote was the first step of many toward officially amending the state constitution. The measure would go before voters if the General Assembly approves it twice over the next two years.

Why would they use this backward way of doing it? In anticipation of passing a law banning abortion because

The state Supreme Court has ruled that the Tennessee Constitution grants women a greater right to abortion than the U.S. Constitution.

This is a bad idea. I think abortion is terrible but would only be made worse by criminalizing it. And amending the constitution specifically to say it doesn’t guarantee something seems odd.

12 Responses to “Tennessee Abortion Amendment”

  1. Standard Mischief Says:

    The words we live by, yet there’s no link or quoting of the reverent constitutional section. What a crappy journalistic job.

    So what does the Tennessee Constitution say?

    “Because living with a government that could effectively enforce laws against abortion would be living in a police state; the right for a woman to make her own reproduction decisions shall not be infringed.”

  2. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Maybe it should, but it doesn’t as far as I can tell; what are you talking about?

  3. SayUncle Says:

    I don’t understand your question, thomas. Which what are you referring to?

  4. rich Says:

    It certainly would have been nice of Mr. Mischief had left a link to the Tennessee Constitution containing the passage he quotes. Talk about sloppy journalism.

    Or maybe not so much sloppy as misleading.

    The Tennessee State Constitution does not contain the language that Mr. Mischief quotes, at least, not that I can find, looking here.

    I read through the thing twice, and to be extra cautious, I did a search for the word “Abortion.”

    It ain’t there.

    Just for fun, I searched the entire Tennessee State site for the quote.

    It ain’t there either.

    I even googled the entire web for your phrasing.

    0 results. You know how hard it is to get 0 results? I typed in “Iraqi beekeeping” and got over 20 hits.

    So why the lie, Mischief? What gives? Where did you find the language you quote?

    To inject a little fact into the debate, the TN Constitution does not explicitly recognize a right to abortion any more than the US Constitution does, What it does is recognize a stronger right to privacy than does the US Constitution. And based on that, the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down restrictions on abortion like informed consent, parental notification, and a waiting period.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    I think he was being facetious.

  6. Standard Mischief Says:

    Sorry, I think Thomas was referring to me. I pulled that little amendment out of my ass. It’s a parody of the second amendment.

    I really have no clue what part of the Tennessee Constitution has been construed to protect the right to abortion. While I could google up the text, I don’t really have time to read the whole thing and ferret out what the hell the professional reporter was trying to convey. I checked a few blogs, did a few searches, and check with my favorite TN feminist blogger, but I still couldn’t find it.

    Then, using the link that Thomas provided, I searched the text for “abortion” and “private”. No luck.

    But I really shouldn’t have to. HTML is a totally different media than newsprint.

    Thus the confusing comment.

    If your blogging about the law, link to the law.
    If you are blogging about another blog, link to that blog
    If you are blogging about something that maybe unfamiliar to a few of your readers, Wikipedia is your friend.
    If you pull statistics out to prove your point, link directly to them so I can “peer review” the statistics
    And why the hell should someone who nearly flunked high school English have to tell a pro this?

  7. Standard Mischief Says:

    Rich: yea, it wasn’t meant to be a lie. It was just a poorly phrased comment that I pounded out first thing in the morning. With extra snark. Sorry ’bout that.

    What it does is recognize a stronger right to privacy than does the US Constitution. And based on that, the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down restrictions on abortion like informed consent, parental notification, and a waiting period.

    Now that’s what I wanted LUCAS L. JOHNSON from the fracking Associated Press to tell me. I live in Maryland. I know that jousting is our state sport, the black-eyed Susan is our state flower, and there’s no explicit right in our constitution to keep and bear arms (I also know the entire first Maryland constitution had been scrapped and rewritten). But if I was reporting on Maryland congress critters, for a national news source, I wouldn’t assume any of those things.

  8. Standard Mischief Says:


    I wouldn’t assume that my readers knew any of those things.

  9. Standard Mischief Says:

    One final comment: I highly doubt that the phrase “police state” would ever get into any one of the several state’s constitutions, ever, period.

    So I logically thought no one would ever take my parody of the second amendment seriously.

    “Because uncongested citizens are free people, and in home brew we trust, the right of the people to keep and bear pseudoephedrine hydrochloride shall not be infringed”

  10. rich Says:

    sorry. my bad. i failed to recognize humor. i’m handicapped that way. my apologies to mr. mischief and I will self flagellate tonight. then again, it being saturday night, that’s what I usually do anyway.

  11. rich Says:

    PS I like the “iraqi beekeeping” thing though; I’ll have to save it for another time when it’s actually appropriate

  12. Xrlq Says:

    It sounds reasonable enough to me. If you disagree with the holding in Roe, what’s wrong with a “no, you dummies” amendment to the state constitution to prevent state courts from “discovering” the same rule there?