Lee to introduce sweeping bill to restrict abortions in Tennessee

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a press conference about his plan to introduce sweeping legislation to restrict access to abortions in Tennessee. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee is proposing a sweeping bill aimed at restricting access to abortions in Tennessee. The bill would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected and would require women to undergo an ultrasound before seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

The bill includes a “ladder” approach of severerability clauses to that would keep provisions of the law in place if certain components are thrown out in court. For example, if the heartbeat provision doesn’t pass muster, the state could enact a ban at eight weeks, ten weeks or 12 weeks, depending what stands up in court.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Gov. Bill Lee announced that he will submit comprehensive pro-life legislation to the Tennessee General Assembly this year, including the prohibition of an abortion where a fetal heartbeat exists. This legislation would make Tennessee one of the most pro-life states in the country.

“I believe that every human life is precious, and we have a responsibility to protect it,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “Today, Tennessee is taking a monumental step in celebrating, cherishing, and defending life at every stage. I’m grateful to be joined by so many leaders in our state who are boldly standing up for our most vulnerable.”

This legislation would build upon successes in other states while incorporating innovative approaches to enhance existing law, including provisions such as:

  • Prohibiting an abortion where a fetal heartbeat exists;
  • Requiring a mother to undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion;
  • Prohibiting an abortion where the physician is aware that the decision to seek an abortion is motivated by the race, sex, or health or disability diagnosis of the unborn child. 

To protect against legal challenges, the new law would also include a creative “ladder” provision, modeled after Missouri law, of sequential abortion prohibitions at two-week gestational age intervals, along with severability clauses for each step of the ladder.

“As someone who takes seriously the cause of life, I am ecstatic to support this legislation. The many provisions of this bill represent great leaps forward for the cause of life in Tennessee. The destination has always been clear. The issue has been identifying the proper vehicle. We now have the proper vehicle. This comprehensive, tiered approach is our best chance of advancing the cause of life without sacrificing the gains we have made. I appreciate the great work of Chairman Bell and the Judiciary Committee for their contributions to this effort. And my deepest thanks go to Governor Lee for bringing forth this much-needed, common-sense legislation. I support this initiative wholeheartedly and without reservation,” said Lt. Governor Randy McNally.

“The General Assembly has been committed to making Tennessee a very strong pro-life state over the last decade.  Obviously, we are very supportive and appreciative of the Governor’s dedication to pro-life principles. We are looking forward to working with him and his team on this issue, as well as his legislative vision. I know members of the House and the chairmen are eager to review the proposed language and continue their strong support for life,” said Speaker Cameron Sexton.

“This comprehensive legislation is a powerful step forward in our efforts to protect the life of unborn children in Tennessee. I commend Governor Lee for his leadership on this important issue and look forward to doing everything possible to ensure its passage,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. 

“I applaud Governor Lee for his ambitious thinking on this unprecedented initiative that will further enhance Tennessee’s status as a national pro-life leader. I strongly support this initiative, and I will never stop fighting to provide a voice for and to protect our unborn children,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth.

“I appreciate Governor Lee’s commitment to protecting the life of the unborn and look forward to working with him to ensure passage of this legislation,” said Senator Dolores Gresham.

“As a strong pro-life advocate, I have always fought for the unborn. I look forward to joining Governor Lee and Leader Lamberth in continuing that effort on this very important issue that is dear to my heart,” said Chairman Susan Lynn.

97 Responses to Lee to introduce sweeping bill to restrict abortions in Tennessee

  • Leslie Parsley says:

    Notice all the women in the photo? What an imbecile.

  • Norma Shirk says:

    I’d like a sweeping bill that requires all males over the age of 10 to undergo intensive training on the use of birth control methods, such as condoms, AND a minimum 40 hours of education on the cost of giving birth and raising a child to the age of 18 and the physical, emotional & financial stress endured by women who become pregnant. After that, any male person who can’t or won’t take financial responsibility for their child should be forced to undergo a vasectomy so that they can’t create more babies they won’t support. If these measures were adopted, there wouldn’t be a need for abortion. But this isn’t really about religion or public health or acting like a grown-up. This law is about punishing women while allowing men to be irresponsible jerks. Some things never change.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I’m with you Norma! Great response other than your next to last sentence. The thought that The Right Reverend Bill Lee gets up in the morning determined to punish women is silly. Rev. Lee was motivated by his insufferable religiousity on the one hand along with the need to apply a large bandage on the wound that his religiousity caused him to inflict on himself regarding his immigration fiasco that has caused him to hemorrhage conservative support.

      • Silence Dogood says:

        Damage control was my first thought, too. I understand no one has seen any wording or suggested outlines of the bill, either. So maybe all he has to say is he is working on such a bill and he will be fine? Pro-life Democrats have found a home in Tennessee’s Republican Party. Anyone else care?

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I have long had the concern that as the Democratic Party goes from being a liberal party to a social democratic party it will lose center-left liberals along the way who may very well become Republicans. That is exactly what I don’t want to see happen insofar as making the Republican Party more conservative is job one for me and that will serve to move things in the wrong direction.

    • MARLE says:

      Wondering if you are also for forced vasectomies for those who are mentally challenged and can’t possibly earn enough to provide for the raising of children.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Of course, the physically impaired often have no possibility of supporting their children either. Aren’t we on a mega-lubricated slope toward authoritarianism here? Put me down as a “no.” On the other hand, the perfectly able bodied who won’t work to support the children that they are mass producing are engaging in anti-social behavior that the state has an interest in stopping.

        • MARLE says:

          So purposely having children whom you cannot possibly provide for financially (so the rest of us will have to) is ok for society. But having children you will not provide for is 180 degrees different.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            No it’s all pretty lousy, I simply want to hold the coercive power of the state down as much as I can being a libertarian and all that.

        • MARLE says:

          You are not a libertarian and you have outed yourself particularly effectively of late.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            You really know how to hurt a guy MARLE. I did so much want you to think of me as a libertarian.

  • Eddie White says:

    Norma, I agree with your ideas of making the fathers financially responsible. I think that makes sense and would be the right thing to do. But two wrongs do not make a right. Failure of our politicians to act on the father does not justify abortion by the woman. Don’t punish the wrongs of parents by taking the life of the unborn child.

  • La Quita V. Martin says:

    As a woman who terminated a pregnancy due to a fetal abnormality I find this bill terrifying and a throwback to some of the darkest days in history. My husband I were told by 7 physicians, located here in Tennessee and two other states that the fetus I was carrying would not live outside of the womb. If carried to term, self suffocation would occur as heart could not pump.
    Thankful by terminating early peaceful death rather than gasping for air. If this type of ban occurs, than all living wills should be banned as no one will have a say on how they die and not parent can make a determination for their child no matter the age.

    • LeeAnn C. says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s important to note that a pregnancy termination of that nature is NOT an abortion. Nor is the circumstance of pregnancy that endangers the life of the mother. No law has EVER made those terminations illegal.

  • David Collins says:

    Some libertarian. A true libertarian would be against the government restricting a citizen’s right to choose. Isn’t that the true essence of being a libertarian? In favor of the government staying out of an individuals business? This legislation should be known as the “Lawyers Full Employment Act of 2020”. In the end, the taxpayers will have shelled out thousands of dollars defending a law that will ultimately be tossed out. Every time I start thinking that Bill Lee might be okay, he comes out with some foolishness like this.

    • Eddie White says:

      I am a conservative, not a Libertarian, but I would think even Libertarians would believe that government has a responsibility to protect life.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        But Eddie, it can’t do that until it decides when life begins, hence the heartbeat law. Is a car a car when a fraction of the frame is put together or is what you have a fraction of a frame? If I lay the keel of a ship do I have a ship or a keel?

        I say “a fraction of a frame” and “a keel” so I say life begins and is entitled to protection when you have a fetus that is viable outside of the womb. As a libertarian I consistently want to keep government coercion/interference/snooping/meddling etc. to a minimum.

        • Eddie White says:

          Stuart, I would encourage you to take a deeper dive on the abortion issue. I think it is an issue you feel is just getting in the way. Many conservatives now believe with scientific support that life begins at conception. It is a major part of the Republican platform and you don’t have to be a religious zealot to recognize the importance of valuing life. If our government is not going to protect those who have no ability to protect themselves, then it raises the question of why have government at all.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I am a libertarian and a conservative strict constructionist so my position is that constitutionally I find Roe v. Wade a terrible decision. Questions of abortion should be left to the states. I am in Tennessee and I am “. . .against the government restricting a citizen’s right to choose.” I have not the slightest doubt that I am, therefore, very much in the minority in this state so like the good democrat that I am I accept the fact that the state government is going to pass laws to restrict abortions. As a conservative I simply lament the fact that conservatives heatedly argue and divide over this issue, something I simply refuse to do.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Havent read the previous posts yet, but I am sure this is a way to throw red meat to all those ready to recall him because of refugees,gambling, etc. thank

  • Donna Locke says:

    I’ll vote for a Democrat before I’ll vote for Lee or the rest of his useless ilk again.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Donna, I know you’re upset but don’t you think that now you are going a little too far. When the time comes why not consult with James White and vote for one his obscure No Chance candidates rather than be recorded as supporting a party that stands for everything that you are against.

      • Donna Locke says:

        Since I moved back to Tennessee in 2002, I’ve voted for two Democrats — once to try to knock Lincoln Davis out at the primary, and once, fairly recently, for a local candidate for state rep.

        Since I’m independent, I prefer to vote for independents who share my views. Being pragmatic, I’ve done a lot for Republicans in two states. I’m through with these fools.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I simply hope your pragmatic inclinations are dominant and you independent streak is recessive. Reforming the Republican Party to be something other than the feckless, craven shills for the Chamber of Commerce would be a productive goal for a generally right of center person to pursue. See how effective the left of center crowd has been moving the Democratic Party to the left.

  • Gail Baldwin says:

    I think most folks miss the point that no one is “for” abortion. It is the most highly personal decesion that a woman, hopefully with input from the father, can make. But, it should be their’s to make. Legislating a woman to carry a child for 9 months and raise the child under duress is decesion a government entitiy is not equiped to make. I find it odd that the very folks who are adamantely against government oversight want to legislate the most personal choices. In addition, they have limited availability of birth control to those who have difficutly paying through lack of funding for Planned Parenthood.

    • MARLE says:

      You don’t get to to “decide” to snuff out the life of your toddler because you are under duress (such is the on again off again angst of parenthood) and those who oppose abortion regard the fetus and being no different than a toddler.

      Now either they are right about that or they are wrong but not “getting” how they can oppose taking a life for the sake of duress, or convenience (lifestyle issues ARE the number one reason for abortion) or whatever seems to miss their point…….a fetus is a human life that deserves protection.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Or not. As a real libertarian I say no until viability outside the womb.

        • MARLE says:

          I wasn’t necessarily explaining MY position; I was addressing the nice lady who didn’t seem to understand anyone opposing a carefully considered deliberation that culminated in an abortion.

          As a libertarian, while I don’t do drugs myself, I would let others do them all day/every day as long as I don’t have to bear any of the costs (medical, financial,social etc). Same is true of abortion.

          • Eddie White says:

            If you don’t think we are all not bearing the cost of drug use in multiple ways( insurance, medical care, etc) I’ve got some land in south Florida to sell you.

          • MARLE says:

            Eddie……..I said IF, repeat IF I didn’t have to bear the costs. the costs are enormous~ any moron knows that. Government would cost all of us a reasonable amount if Criminals, Illegals, Substance Abusers and the like would suddenly become responsible.

            That is why libertarianism in the age of Welfare and the Nanny state can’t realistically exist. Eliminate the cost to me and I won’t care what you do. Actually it would be Darwin-esque and allow more benefits to flow to the prudent and responsible among us.

          • James White says:

            And they want to Legalize Dope!

      • David Kemp says:

        A fetus is not a toddler. Please.

        • LeeAnn C. says:

          No, a fetus is younger. Both terms describe a stage of development of a human being. Snuffing out the life of either is evil.

  • James White says:

    No level of government should subsidize or make provision for the killing of innocent human life.

  • Donna Locke says:

    If you don’t have control over your own body, you have no freedom at all.

    • David Kemp says:

      Donna I need a kidney (hypothetical). No governmental authority can force you to give up one of yours. This is the essence of Roe v Wade. Bodily autonomy. I hope it withstands the current assault, but it if doesn’t I think there would be a strong legal argument bases on equal protection (for women) under the law.

      • MARLE says:

        What kind of human being EVER kills another human for convenience? Lifestyle issues (inconvenient timing, not enough money to afford all the things I WANT plus a baby, gets in the way of plans) are the most frequently cited by those who abort.

      • Donna Locke says:

        In almost all religions, the first order of business has been to control all the females. That is what’s behind all this. Force. Control.

        I have two kids. During pregnancy I had a definite sense of the baby’s soul or whatever informs us, being outside, not inside my body. The body is just a vehicle. The cells have their own consciousness, however, and the aggregate becomes more than the individual cells, but the vehicle is not the person informing it. The vehicle derives its life from the vehicle it is attached to, the mother. It derives its ability to continue on its own from what enters it at birth. This was my experience.

        But everything has some kind of consciousness.

        As for some deity’s prizing life — ha, ha. Life is cheap. Look around you.

        The life already here, the person already here — the carrier, the mother — must have precedence. Pregnancy and birth are not walks in the park and are risks to the carrier. The carrier vehicle is always permanently damaged by pregnancy and birth. No government and no one has the right to force another to risk damage and death. I oppose the military draft for the same reason.

      • James White says:

        David, it is not that the governmental authority can force you to give up one of yours (kidney), it is the government can not stop you from giving up yours.
        A kidney is Not Life.
        Psalm 139:13 New International Version (NIV) 13
        For you created my inmost being;
        you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

        • David Kemp says:

          This is a beautiful psalm but I am not sure it contains a rule about abortion, unless you just want it to. Very common for folks to cherry-pick verses that support a dearly held belief. I have done it. What’s the one about handling snakes? Or the one supporting slavery? Do you think we can thwart God’s will for humankind with an abortion, or some other action? As a Presbyterian it is a burning question for me. The kidney example is one I made up, but bodily autonomy is in fact at the core of Roe v Wade. The government has strayed into involuntary sterilization programs on more than one occasion. Is that a moral decision the government can make? One would think not but wikipedia shows it is more complicated.

          • Donna Locke says:

            I have some psalms to add to those. Here they are:

            “When you cried out as children, I ignored you while you were terrorized, abused and killed, because it’s who I am. If it can happen, it will happen.”

            “When I claimed to care about the least among you, I was kidding. I get off on the suffering of millions and billions of children and animals.”

            “You are grist for the mill. The predatory nature of your world extends beyond your awareness. As above, so below. I will reward those among you who keep you distracted from and ignorant of the truth of your reality. I will place them in rulership over you. Your genes are switched off for good reason. For our convenience. Religion is my greatest control system. I am not one but many.”

    • LeeAnn C. says:

      Too bad for the 60 million+ bodies that didn’t have a choice to live.

      • David Kemp says:

        LeeAnn lets take this back to its Catholic roots. You MUST produce children until you are no longer fecund, as many as you can. You may use “rhythm” to slow down production but no other birth control is allowed, and if your husband wants sex you must obey. Your role as a woman is to make as many babies as you can no matter the consequences to your health, their health, or the future of the planet. You have the eggs your husband has the sperm so that means potential children. Get busy. If you miscarry then you have sinned, and in some countries like El Salvador you are subject to imprisonment.

        • LeeAnn C. says:

          I assume one has a choice of marrying someone of that belief system. It’s not the unborn’s fault. Why should they suffer the death penalty?

        • MARLE says:

          Are you Catholic, David? I am and with 12 yrs of Catholic schooling and I never once heard that you had to produce as many children ans you can. I am curious where you are getting this.

          • David Kemp says:

            Good to know, and I may have exaggerated a teensie bit to make a point. I get irritated when people cite meaningless statistics, but I guess it is a good shortcut to a stated position on reproductive rights, or any other subject. Humanae Vitae is still a thing in the Catholic church isn’t it? No birth control that isn’t natural- in other words try to time it for when the woman is less fertile. Good plan if you want a lot of folks to have great big families. I am Presbyterian btw, sort of ecumenical.

          • MARLE says:

            So David, the Church has many teachings. Some are said to be infallible through a pope delivering an opinion Ex Cathedra or a teaching having gained such acceptance that it is taught by all Bishops and clergy world wide.

            BUT……Catholics are taught that it is their own (and here comes the challenge and the highest responsibility) “informed conscience” that is the ultimate determinant of whether they have sinned (turned away from the grace of God). The duty to read scripture, to seek counsel, to be prayerful, and to examine how personal selfish motives might be interfering with understanding the Will of God in your life Must Come First in order to act upon your informed conscience.

            12 years, a hour each day per school year….it’s complicated.

          • MARLE says:

            So in summation……only IF your informed conscience dictates that God wants you to have as many children as you can are you obliged to do so. That is what my Catholic education taught me. See ABOVE

      • James White says:
  • Cannoneer2 says:

    This is one of those pet issues that our Legislators just LOVE! Furthermore, regardless of which side you are on, all of us can agree that this sole issue will gum up the Legislature for the year and other things that need to get accomplished will be shoved to the back burner. Way to go.

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  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    just when I thought this Governor was doing a good job. SMH

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      It’s good to see even liberals like you Beatrice get kicked in the rear when 37% of the voters go into the voting booth feelin’ lucky and vote for a No Record Candidate for governor who wins so every issue is an adventure for the citizens before they know what the governor is going to do. I know you and your Democratic friends would’t dream of putting up with any Democratic candidate who didn’t have impeccable liberal credentials, but in the off chance that you happen to know any real Republicans who vote in the Republican Primary would you please gently point out to them how foolish it is to vote for a No Record Candidate for high office.

      • James White says:

        Stuart, Lee is a Republican and you Know that you Will vote for him and Not the Democrat. Not the real conservative, but the Republican.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Absolutely right James! Leftists are a clear and present danger to what is left of everything I value about this country. Preventing any one of them from holding elective office is the most important thing a voter can do on election day. The most effective way of doing that is to vote for the only candidate who can defeat the Democratic candidate. In our two party system that candidate is the Republican nominee. This ain’t nuclear physics James.

          • James White says:

            and we wonder why things never change.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Oh, so it’s “change” that you want. In that case I sort of agree with you. Let a significant number of voters on the right vote for one of your No Chance candidates so that the Republican Party, the party of the right, is weakened which in our two party system means that more leftists in the Democratic Party will be elected more frequently by a bigger margin and you will certainly see “change” of the most radical kind take place. That is exactly why as a conservative I think what you advocate is most always a self defeating waste of time.

  • Donna Locke says:

    In this discussion, no one is forcing anyone to have an abortion she does not want to have. So don’t have one if you feel you shouldn’t. But don’t dictate the purpose of others’ lives or infringe on others’ autonomy and privacy. Females are not property. Anymore.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      You focus on the woman. The Right-to-Lifers focus on the fetus who they regard an an “unborn baby” with a life of equivalent worth to the woman’s. To them its the taking of a life of one human being vs. some inconvenience to the other. I’m afraid there is no compromise or meeting in the middle on this.

      Damn it. Lets just get a few more conservatives on the Supreme Court so we can overturn Roe v. Wade that gave rise to this interminable and high level of unfruitful bickering and let the citizens of each state decide – Right to Life or Freedom of Choice. What we will be left with is diversity between states so abortions will be available but not in states where the majority finds it abhorrent. Once again problem solved by the conservative solution.

      • Donna Locke says:

        Civil rights, constitutional rights are not supposed to be up for vote in this country.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Constitutional rights are not supposed to be something that’s made up by appointed judges as they go along based on their political preferences as they flit from issue to issue. My copy of the U. S. constitution says nothing about abortions and no one contends that there is anything in the U.S. constitution that was intended to concern abortions so abortions is something that is not a federal enumerated matter at all. Rather, it is something that was left to the states under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. constitution.

          I don’t have a copy of the Tennessee constitution but I have a strong feeling there is nothing in it that protects the abortion industry either. So no constitutional provisions, no “civil rights” and no “”constitutional rights” so I guess we just have to behave like a democracy and let the citizens of each state vote on the matter.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            As a matter of fact, I suddenly recall that the Tenn. General Assembly by the required super majority along with the vote of the citizens of this state by a comfortable majority specifically passed an amendment to the Tennessee constitution that says something to the effect that there is nothing in our state constitution that grants a special right to abortion not granted by the federal government.

          • David A Kemp says:

            The Constitution also does not address the “rights” of a fetus TMK. What is the judicial branch for if not to interpret the Constitution? I came along to adulthood right before Roe v Wade. Girls and women in this state who got pregnant and weren’t ready scraped together the money for a trip to New York to terminate, if they had to money. I did not know of any illegal abortions but of course that happened too. State restrictions will result in abortion rights for the well-heeled, as would a complete prohibition. The best plan extant is the “safe, legal, rare” approach. Educate youngsters, provide access to birth control, and unintended pregnancy numbers go down. Also STD’s. It is working in Colorado. Makes too much sense I guess.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Of course you are correct David, there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution about the rights of a fetus, that’s why the Right to Lifers are trying to get a constitutional amendment to put it there. You see David, the mostly conservative Right to Lifers have more respect for the Constitution than to plan to get conservative judges on the bench so these judges can conjure up some “rights of a fetus” the way the liberal justices conjured up a constitutional “right” to an abortion. Judicial review entails interpreting the constitution as you said, not making things up that don’t exist like the right to an abortion. Liberals make a mockery of constitutional government and hopefully some day the majority of citizens will see that the joke is on them.

            The end Roe v. Wade will mean that the people of each state will have the freedom to choose whether or not to allow abortions in their state. No doubt the more liberal states will allow the procedure so that Tennesseans who want an abortion surely would have to go no further than Souotherm Illinois, if that far. You don’t have to be a millionaire to go to Illinois for a few days David, nor do you have to be one to afford an abortion. (Of course, if you really feel that strongly about not having a child using two or more birth control devices or being a little sexually creative and not having intercourse are two cheaper alternatives that anyone can afford but that requires some personal responsibility.) People have to go out of state to go to the Mayo Clinic and Anderson Cancer facility as well as for other medical procedures so it’s no big deal for the vast majority of citizens. What you want is the status quo David and you’re trying to make rationalizations to maintain the status quo when the status quo is unacceptable to an increasing number of people.

          • David A Kemp says:

            A fifteen year old girl in a trailer park raped by her uncle (forgive the cliched example please but it is a real example) is my test for your assertion that with state control of reproductive choice someone needing an abortion can just hop on over to the next available state. She can’t, if it even occurs to her. This particular girl birthed the child unaided and.. it did not survive. That is an example of the status quo, and I am not at all for it. As I suggested earlier, I would prefer sensible sex education for boys and girls beginning well before puberty, and increased access to birth control and family planning information for older kids. It is shown that in societies where this is practiced young people have less sex, less unprotected sex, fewer unintended pregnancies, and fewer STD’s. Do we think Tennessee would ever allow that? The status quo is a ridiculous conflict between extremists on both sides, and girls- who bear the brunt of bearing and raising children- are caught in the crossfire.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            I am a conservative who is a Freedom of Choice advocate because I am a libertarian and I want to keep all levels of government as small and powerless as possible. So your example is a compelling one to me but the Right to Life advocates believe that the girl could have given the child up for adoption to any number of Pro Life organizations that are established for just such a situation. They would argue that in any case there is nothing that justifies what they regard as the murder of millions of “unborn children” through abortion. The crucial point is that they are not only entitled to advocate that opinion under the First Amendment but further, if a majority of voters share in that opinion in a state as they do in Tennessee they are entitled to install a state government that reflects that opinion under the U.S. constitution.

            When this country was established, though there were only thirteen states initially our founding fathers were very well acquainted with irreconcilable differences between different ideologies that were present in the various states. Thus they set up a federal system wherein the federal government has powers over matters specifically delegated to it and in the words of Federalist #39 “leaves to the several states a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.” The Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights institutionalizes this arrangement. Whether you and I like it or not, abortion is not one of those delegated matters so under the clear wording of the constitution it is left to the states. As a result, just as Tennessee and Illinois NEVER vote the same way in presidential or senatorial elections so they will vote differently regarding whether to permit abortions and in a country of 325 million people that type of diversity is a strength that should be celebrated not undermined through some creative judicial nullification.

        • David A Kemp says:

          The Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified by 38 states now that Virgiinia has passed it. Tennessee ratified it in 1972. The length of time it has taken to get to 38 is problematic. A 7 year deadline was extended to 10 years and was then allowed to expire. Congress made the deadlines and Congress can extend again. Meanwhile, 5 states- including Tennessee- rescinded ratification, a constitutionally suspect action. The current Department of INJustice has offered an opinion that the amendment is dead. A group of state attorneys general is going to challenge. This amendment would make it harder for men to control women’s bodies, so… trouble ahead.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Let’s not overlook the GOOD NEWS HERE!! the Refugee issue is no longer relevant because of this democrat controlled perfectly executed move from the Republican textbook. Y’all know what’s I mean.

    • David A Kemp says:

      Check the Blount County Commision agenda for February. We are already a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” whatever that is. (As a religious/spiritual person I really object to the use of the word ‘sanctuary’ in this context.) Three commissioners are sponsoring a resolution to thwart Mr. Lee’s decision that refugees are welcome in Tennessee. The resolution essentially says NIMBY. Causing a stir here of course, but most will either support this idea or remain silent.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Thanks for the report from Blount County David and please be sure to congratulate the three commissioners on behalf of the vast majority of Tennesseans who don’t share Rev. Gov. Lee’s fanatical religiosity. The commissioners in Williamson County received a report from Sen. Jack Johnson to the effect that one has to specifically request the importation of aliens from the federal government before they are settled in ones locality so insofar as the commissioners certainly don’t have the nerve to do that they feel that they can simply do nothing. Since the liberal ghettos in this state have already made that request hopefully the aliens will go to those localities and that will be that. We shall see.

        According to my Webster’s New Collegiate dictionary the term “sanctuary,” along with the religious connotation that you alluded to, also means a place that affords “immunity from law” and “a place of refuge and protection.” A “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” is a place where a citizen who wants to exercise the rights afforded to him under the Second Amendment is free to do so without worry that an official of the sanctuary will do anything to stand in his way. See David, it’s an altogether appropriate use of the word and as “a religious/spiritual person” you really should work on your willingness to share words in the English language with people who are using it to describe things with which you don’t particularly agree and/or sympathize.

        • David A Kemp says:

          Well James I think you have out-wordsmithed me. I still hate the way ‘sanctuary’ has been used here. Truth be told I object to the Second Amendment as written, but we were on the subject of states rights as it applies to a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. I guess Roe v Wade allows states to legislate restrictions on abortion up to a point. While it still rules, current legislators are trying to find that point. I am just not for having the government stick its nose into this, but don’t have the power to do anything about it. Maybe someone can open a business in Illinois or New York specializing in abortions for women in Tennessee who need them. An NGO could help poor women with the expense.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Ah, the wonders of the free market capitalistic system! Illinois will surely be a Pro Choice state and the way it borders or comes close to bordering what will surely be Pro Life states, e.g. Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee I foresee the abortion industry being of material assistance to Illinois avoiding the bankruptcy that it is flirting with after years of liberal government should Roe be overturned.

      • James White says:

        Resolution’s have no force of law. Blount County can not stop any people from moving there. Period.

        • David A Kemp says:

          Amen and amen. But it signals hostility. There will be vocal opposition to adopting this, and it may go nowhere. Hope not…. We have 21 commissioners- 20 Republicans and 1 Democrat (up from 0 Dems for many years), but they aren’t all this mean. The flow of refugees into the US is at a trickle anyway.

  • CollegeGrover says:

    Noticed The Tennessean and most liberal outlets also cropped out all of the women. For gosh sake Bill Lee staffers could you not see that coming.

    • Phil Lassiter says:

      I went to the Party Fowl for lunch but just could not bring myself to use the same bathroom where our Speaker of the House snorted coke and screwed someone for one minute.

  • MARLE says:

    Kick your dog, put him out on a freezing cold night, lock him in a hot car and you’ll be a social pariah. “Share” with people that you had an abortion rather than delay your freshman year in college and you’re a feminist hero (excuse me, HEROINE). Something, aside from the legality of it all, is really wrong with our society.

  • Donna Locke says:

    I predict this move will backfire on them. It will be another motivator for people getting out to vote. Tennessee is not the state they seem to think it is now, and it is about to change a lot more.

  • James Calloway says:

    Lee got 70% of the vote. Absolutely crushed the Nashville Democrat. Tn knew what it was voting for.

    Democrats just do not want to admit how hopeless their situation in Tennessee is. The *only* reason they get into 1/2 the offices they get into is because those races are non-partisan. There are barely enough elected Democrats in this state to fill a cubicle.

    • Donna Locke says:

      James, even Williamson County is not as red as it was. I watched the change in once-Republican strongholds in Georgia when I lived there. The same will happen in Tennessee.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Only if we are stupid enough to change our population by massively inviting companies from the most liberal states to move to Tennessee and/or making it very attractive for unskilled foreign migrants to permanently settle in this state. That is why the Rev. Gov. Lee has to be watched very carefully especially by conservatives who made the mistake and voted for him.

        It wouldn’t hurt a bit if we Republicans did some evangelizing among newcomers, especially in the Indian and East Asian communities, who I can testify from personal experience regarding the former are quite conservative. I agree, Donna,, the overwhelming grip that the Republican Party has on this state is bound to decline either because, of course, Republican officeholders are all too often an uninspiring lot and populations do change. Republicans needn’t sit back, however, and sheepishly just let it happen.

      • David A Kemp says:

        My sense is that except for a few blue spots in the metro areas Tennessee is about 2/3 R, 1/3 D. Williamson County used to be R Franklin but now is partly D Nashville. Politically we are still living with the consequences of Brown vs Board of Education, the Great Society, etc when so many Dixiecrats became Republicans.

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    I quickly found a poll of the five most important issues to Tennessee voters, taken in fall 2019. Jobs and the economy. Healthcare. Education. Infrastructure. Immigration. Abortion wasn’t mentioned in the top five.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      There are a few people who are incredibly passionate about the issue on both sides and the rest share my view wishing it would just go away. It was that awful Roe v. Wade decision that unleashed this never ending conflict that won’t go away. If we can simply get a conservative majority on the court the justices will continue to chip away at Roe until it is finally gone, We can then have elections in which abortion is an important issue in each state. In most states, like Tennessee, one side (e. g. Pro Life) will win overwhelmingly and the issue will be settled by democratic means rather than by judicial command. Abortions will still be available in a number of liberal states so, other than in a few states where it will be a close call, peace will reign.

  • E. says:

    If life begins at conception, then every miscarriage is a death and will need to be investigated by the police. Someone or a group of people in power will make the determination whether the miscarriage is murder, involuntary manslaughter, or a natural consequence. Also, all fetuses would qualify as a dependent for tax purposes and would need a social security card. And who knows what other ramifications might develop if a fertilized egg is held as the equivalent to post-natal human should the wording of the Constitution amendment attempt to define when life begins.

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