Carol M. Swain, Ph.D., professor of political science and law, Vanderbilt University, is an honorary chair of the “Yes on 1” campaign. She rebuts the scare tactics used by opponents on Amendment 1.
I was surprised to read the Oct. 12 opinion piece by former state senator and Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron. Mr. Herron is a pro-life Democrat and a strong Christian who in the past has stood for life and resisted the pro-abortionist tide of his party.
In his lead paragraph, Mr. Herron argues that passage of Amendment 1 would “strip a woman of her right to make a terribly difficult, personal decision. Instead of letting a woman decide with her faith, her family and her doctor, Amendment 1 would let politicians restrict and potentially prohibit all abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest or even to save a woman’s life.”
I can only assume that Mr. Herron mistakenly referenced the false and misleading talking points of the “No on 1” lobby. Deception and subterfuge should not be given the kinds of platforms that the mainstream media has offered the “No on 1” lobby.
The well-financed opponents to Amendment 1 have no regard for truth. Without any regard to ethics and morals, Amendment 1 opponents have conspired to mislead the voters of Tennessee by falsely claiming that passage of the amendment would empower state legislators to strip women of the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that were decided on the same day in 1973, Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, guarantee that any woman in America can get an abortion at any stage of pregnancy. She only needs to find a doctor who will state that her mental or physical health would be impaired by the birth of a child.
In Doe vs. Bolton, the court ruled that a woman’s life does not have to be in jeopardy, thereby nullifying the trimester test in Roe. Under no circumstances can a state constitutional amendment trump the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no danger of Mr. Herron’s and the “No on 1” lobby’s parade of horrors becoming a reality.
Passing Amendment 1 would allow Democrats and Republicans to enact common-sense laws that would protect the health and well-being of women and girls seeking to terminate their pregnancies. If Amendment 1 passes, the state legislature, with bipartisan support, would be able to enact the same protections found in eight neighboring states. These include:
1) informed medical consent based on a woman’s health history; 2) a short, 24-hour waiting period so that a woman could fully process the information received; 3) access to clean, state-inspected facilities to avoid situations found in other states where women have died from unsafe, unsanitary conditions; and 4) hospitalizations for late-term abortions, defined as those in which the unborn child has reached 24 weeks or more.
These are common-sense safeguards that should be supported by both Democrats and Republicans because they will protect women’s health and prevent our state from becoming a tourist destination for desperate women.