Abortion resolution moving through Tenn. General Assembly

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A change to the Tennessee constitution could impose more limits on abortions.

The resolution was filed at the beginning of March, and although it's still in the beginning stages, it's already made it past one point of the lengthy process, but ultimately it could be up to the voters.

After a few weeks in the Tennessee Senate, the potential Constitutional Amendment addressing abortion in the state is moving forward.

The director of the Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic in Knoxville, Elizabeth Fraley says, "I believe that it's just absolutely unnecessarily restrictive."

At the Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic a woman can have an abortion during her first trimester of pregnancy.

Elizabeth says, "To tell a woman that she can't or to restrict her access to an abortion is actually very insulting to women. It's saying that they don't know what's best for themselves."

As the director of the Knox County Chapter of the Tennessee Right To Life, Stacy Dunn says the Senate Joint Resolution, SJR 0127, is to make up for codes removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000.

Stacy says, "By doing that, the Supreme Court struck down regulations that our Tennessee legislators had overwhelmingly passed."

Sponsor of the resolution, Republican Senator Diane Black says the amendment would specify the right to an abortion is only protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Stacy says, "Our only remedy at this point is to pass an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that says nothing in the Constitution guarantees the right to an abortion or the funding of an abortion."

While the amendment is up to the legislators right now, It could ultimately be up to the people.

Stacy says, "Right now a woman doesn't have to be informed about what an abortion can do to her."

Elizabeth says, "Nobody wants to have to have an abortion, but we have to have that right."

The SJR 0127 passed the Senate and is headed to the House. It will have to pass this session, and again, by a two-thirds vote, in the next general assembly, before it could go before the Tennessee voters.

So the soonest that could happen, is 2014.


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