Commercial Appeal – Subcommittee says no to abortion amendment

From the article:

push by anti-abortion activists to reverse a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that the state constitution guarantees a right to abortion was turned back in a House subcommittee Tuesday, but its supporters vowed to press on.

It was a partisan-charged repeat of three earlier attempts by Tennessee Right to Life and pro-life legislators to pass a bill that would put a constitutional amendment up for a statewide referendum, this time in 2010. The proposed amendment declares “nothing in the Tennessee Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion” and instead, leaves abortion policy up to the legislature.

With pro-life and pro-choice advocates crowded into the hearing room for the 45 minute debate, Democrats arranged to have the telecast of Vaughn’s and Gresham’s Monday night exchange on the House floor replayed during Tuesday’s hearing. At one point, Gresham called pro-choice advocates “pro-death,” which set off another round of heated exchanges.

“I have spent my life working for poor people, sick people and vulnerable people. I am pro life and pro choice. I will not accept that someone would label me ‘pro death.’ It is simply not so,” freshman Rep. Jeanne Richardson, a Memphis Democrat and social worker, said.

Subcommittee chairwoman Mary Pruitt, D-Nashville, often refused Gresham’s requests to speak.

The bill received 3 yes votes and 6 no votes, along party lines and keeping it in the subcommittee. Voting for the bill were Reps. Chris Crider, R-Milan; Tom DuBois, R-Columbia, and Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville. Opposing it were Reps. Pruitt; Richardson; Lois DeBerry, D-Memphis; Joanne Favors, D-Chattanooga; Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, and Joe Armstrong,D-Knoxville..

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