TN abortion debate heats up over 'Amendment 1'

In one year, Tennesseans will take to the polls to vote on a controversial abortion measure.

If passed, Amendment 1 could give the state's legislature the power to create abortion laws. Currently, it does not have that power.

Lisa Morris, the co-director of "40 Days for Life" supports Amendment 1. For her, the fight against abortion is a personal one.

"They do not know that their lives are going to be forever changed," she said.

More Information: Opposing sides dig in over abortion amendment

Morris said she had an abortion 33 years ago. She said today her decision would have been different if she had more information.

"The mother should see what she is about to do," Morris said. "See that baby, see the sonogram and then make a decision."

Back in 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court did away with mandatory waiting periods and rules requiring doctors to tell patients what an abortion procedure actually entails.

"We've been trying to put this back to a neutral position to say that the legislators should be the ones setting this policy, not liberal courts," said Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, who spoke at a fundraiser in Nashville Monday in support of Amendment 1.

He wasn't the only person looking to build support for the measure.

The reality show family, the Duggars, headlined another fundraiser.

But, Planned Parenthood thinks it has the power to stop their efforts.

"Anytime there is an attack on women's rights and privacy rights, we are concerned," said Tory Mills, the external affairs coordinator of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee.

Read Senate Joint Resolution 127: Amendment 1 Text

Planned Parenthood has already done focus groups to gauge the public's interest on Amendment 1. In the next few months, it plans to start a formal campaign against the proposal.

It won't be alone in those efforts either.

"Planned Parenthood is working with our national partners, including the ACLU and the religious division of Reproductive Choice to wage a campaign against this amendment," Mills said.

She said Planned Parenthood has already lined up financial commitments too. Local Democratic State Representative Gloria Johnson agrees with Planned Parenthood on the issue.

"I have no idea this amendment was pushed for political purposes to rile up the extreme members of their base and allow them to intrude on the private decisions of women," she said.

Governor Bill Haslam told 10News he supports Amendment 1.


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