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39 Years after Roe v. Wade, TN preps for future abortion vote

12:37 AM, Jan 24, 2012   |    comments
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  • Pro-life groups march Sunday through Knoxville
  • Planned Parenthood has several events planned this week to mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
    

This week marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of abortion. It comes amid a fight over a state proposal on the issue.

In 2014, Tennessee voters will decide what role the state has when it comes to abortion. They'll vote on an amendment that would change language in the Tennessee Constitution.

If passed, the language would read:

"Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

Until that vote, activists from both sides of the issue are spreading their message.

Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee will host several events this week to mark the Roe v. Wade anniversary.

"It's an opportunity for us to bring our supporters together and give them updates about what's happening with Planned Parenthood here in Knoxville and East Tennessee," said Vice President of Patient Services Steven Emmert.

Emmert said he knows abortion is a complicated subject, but said it shouldn't be in the state's hands.

"We just feel it should also be a very private decision, one made between a woman, her family and her physician," he said. "And that it's not one that should include government intrusion."

Representative Bill Dunn (R-District 16) is confident the amendment will pass.

"Tennessee is a pro-life state, and so I think the amendment will pass overwhelmingly," he said.

Rep. Dunn said the state legislature reflects a pro-life Tennessee, and says he expects lawmakers to "continue to do what we can to protect life."

"As we talk about all the different rights that we have, whether there's right to freedom of speech, or the freedom to arm yourself, none of those rights are possible unless you have the right to life."

The amendment will go before voters in the November 2014 election.

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