Pro-Abortion Challenge of Pro-Life Amendment 1 Filed at U.S. Supreme Court
Friday, July 20, 2018: For most Tennessee voters, pro-life Amendment 1 was decided on November 4, 2014 when it was approved 53-47%. But several days later former Planned Parenthood board chair Tracey George joined 7 other pro-abortion activists in filing a legal challenge in Federal Court contesting the manner in which the state tabulated the votes and claiming discrimination against pro-abortion voters.
In April 2016, former U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp agreed with Planned Parenthood and demanded a recount of the votes. In his ruling, former Judge Sharp threatened to throw out the votes of those Tennesseans casting a vote on the Amendment but not having also voted in the 2014 governor's race.
Appealed by the Tennessee Attorney General, the case ultimately made its way to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which heard oral arguments in August of 2017. Tennessee Right to Life and YES on 1 coordinated a Friend of the Court brief containing the signatures of 8,850 Tennesseans urging the court to uphold their votes on the Amendment.
A three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit issued its unanimous ruling on January 9, 2018, in support of the vote count saying, "... it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people’s 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest."
Planned Parenthood activists immediately sought a re-hearing of the case before the full 6th Circuit which rejected the request. Now Tennessee's pro-abortion leaders are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up their challenge of the people's pro-life vote on Amendment 1.
Responding to the latest development, Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life said, "Tennessee's pro-life movement won a watershed victory for the unborn in 2014, one that other states will try to replicate in the years ahead."
"Pro-life Tennesseans, however, must be resolute not only in our commitment to defending this victory, but also to being measured in the introduction of new laws that can't yet be held as constitutional under existing court precedent," said Harris. "Equally important is the election of a pro-life Governor and pro-life legislative super-majorities who understand where we've been as a movement, where we want to go, and how to best get there."
Pro-Life Vote Upheld on Amendment 1: Judges Rule Unanimously Against Planned Parenthood
JANUARY 9, 2018 - In a resounding victory for pro-life Tennesseans, Judges on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals have rejected a pro-abortion effort to overturn the 2014 voter passage of Amendment 1.
"Although the subject of abortion rights will continue to be controversial in Tennessee and across our nation, it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people's 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest," wrote Senior Judge David McKeague, a 2005 appointee of George W. Bush.
Tennessee Right to Life expresses profound gratitude to the many supporters, advocates, and voters who sacrificed to see Amendment 1 placed on the ballot and passed by public vote. It was made necessary by a radical pro-abortion decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000 which wrongly declared a so-called "fundamental right to abortion" in the Tennessee Constitution thereby making enforcement of common-sense protections impossible in Tennessee.
Passage of SJR 127 and Amendment 1 remained the top priority and legislative goal of Tennessee Right to Life for more than 16 years.
"Today's ruling is vindication of the state's amendment process and victory for the thousands of pro-life Tennesseans who sacrificed to see Amendment 1 passed," said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life.
"We are grateful to the legislators who placed the amendment on the ballot, to voters who approved it, and to the Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Coordinator of Elections who all worked tirelessly to defend it," said Harris. "The voices of Tennessee's voters have been heard and, as a result, public policy decisions on the matter of abortion can be rightly debated and determined by the people's representatives."