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Tennessee Helps W.VA. Get Abortion Resolution on November Ballot

After asking FACT’s president, an attorney, how he handled various legal questions regarding the pro-life Amendment 1 to Tennessee’s Constitution, the Senate sponsor of an identical amendment in West Virginia was able to overcome opposition to that amendment in her state. Now that Senate Joint Resolution 12 has passed both that state’s House and Senate, the issue will be on West Virginia’s November ballot.

Specifically, the voters will vote whether to add the following language to the state’s Constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” If the amendment passes, it would overturn a West Virginia Supreme Court decision requiring the state taxpayers to pay for certain abortions. West Virginia is one of 17 states that funds elective abortions for low-income women through Medicaid.

Said FACT President David Fowler in a recent email to Tennessee Amendment 1 supporters, “Your efforts over the years to make sure that our amendment got on the ballot here in Tennessee and passed provided a light for West Virginia to follow and a hope for saving babies lives in another state. It’s a wonderful testament to how the good you do here can be used for good in other states.”

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Tennessee’s Amendment 1 Battle One Step Closer to Over

After a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit unanimously rejected a claim by pro-abortion advocates that Tennessee’s process for adopting amendments to its state Constitution violated the U.S. Constitution, the sore losers asked that all the judges on the 6th Circuit hear and decide their case.

On Wednesday, their request was denied. Abortion advocates may file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to ask that it take up their appeal, but it is highly unlikely the Court would grant the appeal.

Hopefully, this week’s court victory will prove to be the end of the road for the abortionists.

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What Makes the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act a Good Law?

I found very interesting some of the arguments made by members of the U.S. House of Representative in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Those arguments reminded me of a debate I had on Amendment 1, the pro-life amendment on the ballot back in 2014. Much is revealed by the different approaches to the issue of life.

Getting to the Fundamental Issue

In 2005, a Jewish women’s political organization came to my legislative office to discuss Amendment 1. They said they appreciated my religious convictions regarding Amendment 1 but didn’t think I should allow my religious views to influence public policy.

I told them that I would be happy to speak with them about the issue without reference to my religious beliefs, so I suggested that if we could come to an understanding of what it was we were aborting, then we could more easily discuss the moral and ethical issues surrounding the medical procedure involved with abortion.

To that end, I asked them, “What is it we are aborting? Is it a human being?” To make a long story short, they said “it” was a “potential human being.”

I then probed the meaning of the word “potential.” I asked if, by potential, they meant there was a point during gestation in which the essential nature of that which had been conceived changed from something other than a human being into a human being. To bring clarity to the question, I then asked, “Although in every known instance of pregnancy a woman has delivered a child, a human being, by ‘potential human being’ did you mean a woman might deliver something else?”

Their answer, “Well, no. Of course not. What we mean is that under the Talmud, until a baby is quickened…” and it was at this point I cut them off. You see, they had turned to their religious beliefs to answer the fundamental question, “What does it mean to be human?”

Is Alleviating Pain Fundamental?

I share that story because, in supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, we must not let the act’s opponents avoid the fundamental issue: Are we talking about a human being? In other words, is the bill good simply because we shouldn’t inflict pain on an unborn child, or is it good because we are talking about the death of an unborn child, whether he or she feels pain or not?

This is critical. If an unborn child could be painlessly given an anesthetic prior to the abortion, would that then make it okay? If pain is the only issue, then the answer is yes.

Why a Biblical View of Life Matters

In our effort to achieve a particularly good result, the pro-life community must not lose sight of its goal, namely, a restoration of a biblical understanding of what it means to be human, a view of humanness that can alone stand at all points in opposition to the various reasons given by abortion proponents for their view.

We cannot win the long war for life if we make our arguments only on the premises or grounds that abortionists get to set ahead of time. If all we can argue is “science,” then we’re not arguing on the only ground that will make a fundamental difference, long-term, in the argument.

I’m reminded of what Abraham Kuyper, a noted theologian and former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, said in the late 1800s:

There is no doubt then that Christianity is imperilled [sic] by great and serious dangers. Two life systems are wrestling with one another, in mortal combat. Modernism is bound to build a world of its own from the data of the natural man, and to construct man himself from the data of nature; while, on the other hand, all those who reverently bend the knee to Christ and worship Him as the Son of the living God, and God himself, are bent upon saving the “Christian Heritage.”

From the first, therefore, I have always said to myself,—”If the battle is to be fought with honor and with a hope of victory, then principle must be arrayed against principle; then it must be felt that in Modernism the vast energy of an all-embracing life-system assails us, then also it must be understood that we have to take our stand in a life-system of equally comprehensive and far-reaching power.

Similarly, respect for human life and abortion are “wrestling with one another” in what is truly “mortal combat” with respect to the unborn. Abortionists have a view of humanity that they have “constructed” in which they can decide when human dignity attaches. The pro-life community has a view of humanity grounded in the transcendent Creator God and human dignity is grounded in having been made in His image.

Consequently, “if the battle is to be fought with honor and with hope of victory” as Kuyper writes, then we must “take our stand” in a “life system” in which the pro-life’s fundamental principle is made to stand against that of the abortionists. We must never lose sight of that fact.


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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District Judge Orders Stay on Tennessee’s Pro-Life Amendment 1

U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp ordered a halt to a vote recount on an amendment that would remove the right to an abortion from the state’s constitution.

Judge Sharp had ordered the recount of the vote on Amendment 1 but granted the state’s motion to suspend the recount pending its appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on the appeal on August 2.

Eight voters, including the board chair of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, have challenged the outcome of the 2014 vote. Please be praying that the 6th Circuit will uphold this needed amendment, which allows the Legislature to enact protections for women and the unborn.

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Oral Arguments Set on Tennessee’s Pro-Life Amendment 1 Challenge

On August 2 in Cincinnati, judges at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood abortion activists challenging the outcome of the 2014 election, particularly voters approving of pro-life Amendment 1.

It has been more than two years since Tennesseans approved pro-life Amendment 1 by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent.

Please pray for a good outcome to this court case, George et al v. Haslam et al. As Tennessee Right to Life notes, without Amendment 1, the lives of countless unborn children could be lost and state laws protecting women and unborn children will be nullified.

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