The Washington Post

Tennessee’s abortion referendum could bring in millions

Supporters of Amendment 1 in July. (Facebook)

Millions of dollars could pour into Tennessee to fund the battle over an abortion ballot measure that would amend the state constitution.

Amendment 1 would add language to the constitution that would make it “neutral” on the topic, supporters say: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

Supporters of the amendment have raised just over half a million dollars, and have set a goal to bring in $2.1 million, according to The Tennessean. Opponents have raised $360,000 so far to defeat it, and hope to raise about $4 million.

Amendment 1 supporters argue the measure is necessary to make the constitution neutral on the question of abortion” following a 2000 ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court that found abortion was a woman’s fundamental right. But abortion rights activists say the amendment would “set even more restrictions and regulations on the right to abortion, with no regard for when a women’s health is in danger or when she has been the victim or [sic] rape or incest.”

The majority of Tennessee residents oppose abortion, a May poll conducted by Vanderbilt University found. Half are opposed to abortion except in instances of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. An additional 20 percent are opposed to abortion in all instances. The poll also found, however, that 71 percent of voters are opposed to a measure that would allow  “the state legislature the constitutional authority to regulate abortions.”

The group “Yes On 1” has gained the support of several religious groups in the state. About half the money raised to pass the amendment was brought in at an April fundraiser attended by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R), The Tennessean reported. “Vote No On 1” has raised funds from donors both in and out of the state, including Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee, Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest in Seattle, and the American Civil Liberties Union in New York.


Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post

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