Friday, October 17, 2014


Smoky Mountain Reflections #153

As we prepare to go the the polls in Tennessee, there are four amendment initiatives on the ballot. All four are important and every citizen should take a few minutes to read, understand, and make an informed decision. This goes for any ballot you cast; take the time to make an informed decision. Vote in accordance with your ‘educated’ conscience; do not just pick the candidates with an R or a D in front of their names.
Any proposed amendment that is put on the ballot in Tennessee is not a simple yes-or-no referendum for which a simple majority vote decides the issue. In order for an amendment to be added to the Tennessee State Constitution, it must get a number of “yes” votes equal to 50% of the votes cast in the Governor’s race plus one. A majority vote is not enough. If someone votes in the Governor’s race and leaves the amendment slots blank, that, in essence, counts as a “no” vote.  For example, if 10 people vote for a Governor, but with regard to an amendment, 5 vote yes and 1 votes no, the amendment fails.
While the other amendments are also important, they do not have the potential to save lives that Amendment 1 has. If it passes, Tennessee will again be allowed to make common sense regulations about abortion. The states that surround us have common sense regulations that protect their citizens, if we had similar regulations, the number of abortions in Tennessee would fall. This amendment would not affect the freedom of a woman to choose, but because it would reduce the number of abortions chosen, it would negatively impact the abortion industry’s bottom line. Because of this, the industry is spending lots of money to spread lies and negative propaganda about this amendment.     

Lie number 1: “The Amendment will ban abortions in Tennessee.” FALSE! Absolutely nothing in the amendment would ban any abortion. Furthermore, nothing in the amendment would empower the legislature to make laws that violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion rulings.

Lie number 2: “The Amendment needs to contain exceptions for incest and rape, or to save the life of the mother.” FALSE! No provision is needed since the amendment does not ban any abortions.

Lie number 3: “This Amendment will put us out of step with other states.” FALSE! Two-thirds of our sister states recognize no state constitutional right to abortion.

Because surrounding states have regulations and we do not, Tennessee has become an abortion destination. Tennessee is the only state in the southeastern United States that does not have at least an abortion-related informed consent law or a law requiring a waiting period (period of reflection). As a result, 25% of the abortions that take place in our state are women from surrounding states, making Tennessee number 3 in the nation for out-of-state abortions. I don’t know about you, but that isn’t what I want my state known for. Vote “Yes on 1” and make Tennessee a safer place to live.

In Christ,
Pastor Robert Portier
Saint Paul Lutheran Church 

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