Tennesseans divided on proposed abortion amendment

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JACKSON, Tenn. — A controversial choice for voters across the state is coming in November — whether to change current abortion rules and regulations in Tennessee. If passed, the amendment gives state lawmakers power to make and change or repeal current abortion laws. It would also ban the state from paying for the procedure. “A woman has the rights to her reproductive rights, and to her health,”said Harrell Carter, president of the Jackson-Madison County NAACP. Carter said he is against passing the referendum and is encouraging voters to “say no to 1.” Carter says the vote could take away a woman’s right to privacy. “I’m not for abortion, but I’m not for taking away a woman’s right to choose,” Carter said. “I think that’s, again, between her, her family, her God and her physician.” Those in favor of the amendment have been campaigning to “vote yes on 1.” Right now, the state operates under the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision made back in the 1970s. Jeanie Todd is in favor of the amendment. She says she would like to see Tennessee voters choose to overturn the current regulations. “If this amendment passes, then our legislatures will have the ability to enact the same statutes prior to 2000,” Todd said. Yes on 1 supporters say the favorable vote means more health protection for the state’s women and unborn children. “You want someone to be informed of what they’re going through, of what’s happening, like you would any other medical procedure,” Todd said. Todd also said she would like to see those considering abortion have a 24-hour waiting period to consider the decision. Officials say Tennessee has the third highest percentage of out-of-state abortions. The full text of the referendum is as follows: “Shall Article I, of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section: 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.” Early voting begins Oct. 15 with election day Nov. 4.

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