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Times Square Digital Sign Owners Snub Focus on the Family’s Pro-Life Event

Three digital sign companies in New York, Silvercast, Clear Channel Outdoor, and ABC Supersign, refused to provide jumbotron space in Times Square to Focus on the Family for its “Alive From New York” livestream that will show 4D ultrasound images of babies in the womb.

Said Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, “There are many people who don’t want the world to see these images of pre-born life, because the abortion industry is predicated on a lie—namely that a baby is just a blob of tissue inside the womb. It’s not. It’s a baby.”

Daly said that Focus on the Family will bring in its own digital signage and that the livestream event on May 4 will go on as planned from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. EDT. The event features live music, inspirational speeches, and abortion survivor stories, along with the ultrasound presentation. Event registration is free. For more information and to sign up, go here.

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NOTE: FACT provides links to external websites for educational purposes only. The inclusion of any links to other websites does not necessarily constitute an endorsement.

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Pregnant woman and heart beat monitor

‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill Suffered from ‘Congenital’ Defects

Monday night, the so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill was put on life support and transferred to a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee this summer. There’s much not to like about what happened on this bill, particularly some of the parliamentary maneuvering. Lots of pro-life Tennesseans are incensed. But the bottom line is that the bill was birthed, legislatively speaking, with a ‘congenital’ political defect. Here’s the not-so-pleasant truth.

Defect No. 1—A Really Bad Start

The bill got off to a bad start. I’ve previously said why that is so, but the bottom line is that the version of the bill passed by the House was so poorly done that even I would not have defended it in court, let alone our risk-averse, jurisprudentially moderate attorney general.1

Unfortunately, a bad start is hard to overcome because, politically, a poorly written or poorly documented bill is the version that sticks in everyone’s mind as the bill goes forward.

As with people we meet, first opinions are hard to overcome, particularly when it comes to a bill’s constitutionality. Non-lawyer legislators, just like their constituents, don’t find it easy to understand why some words or phrases make a bill constitutionally defective, but others, perhaps not seeming that different, now make it constitutionally defensible.

Defect No. 2—Confusion and Overlooked Information

At 3:27 on Monday afternoon prior to the start of the 5:00 p.m. session when Senator Mark Pody’s motion to bring the bill to the Senate floor was to be voted on, I had a veteran senator call me. This senator thought the motion was to bring up the House version of the bill. He didn’t realize Sen. Pody had presented a completely different version of the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

That’s a real problem when the thing the legislator thinks he or she is voting on is said to be unconstitutional by every lawyer you know. Sadly, I suspect there were other senators who were in the same position.

Moreover, I suspect few, if any, of the senators who were not on the Judiciary Committee had gone back to listen to testimony that had been offered to the nine members of that committee in support of the bill. I doubt any of them had read the written transcripts of the testimony I provided to the committee. I suspect they were going off what they’d been told about the constitutionality of the bill as it was a couple of weeks ago. (Refer to Defect No. 1, above.)

That sounds outrageous, but let’s be honest with ourselves. It’s hard to expect someone to meet with constituent groups off and on all day, attend committee meetings in between, go to constituent receptions in the early evening, and still have time to read the bills that are coming up the next day. To do that, a legislator has to work into the night. I did a lot of that, but session just grinds you down, and it becomes physically impossible to keep up.

That’s why lobbyists are important. They relay to legislators the latest information about a bill, make sure legislators know what they are voting on, and answer any questions legislators might have.

Defect No. 3—Going It Alone Is Hard

But, in the case of the “fetal heartbeat” bill, the organization that would normally handle that work on pro-life legislation was not in favor of the bill. It was not going to do anything to help toward the bill’s passage.

Given that our organization already had its agenda set before session started and this bill popped up, our one regular lobbyist had to follow through with the legislators we’d asked to work on our issues. Nothing will ruin a lobbyist’s effectiveness like leaving a sponsoring legislator hanging. We just had no capacity to take on the ton of work it takes to lobby another bill, particularly such a major bill.

I did put off the other work I had been directed to do by my board in order to provide Sen. Pody with a legal justification for his amended bill; however, the bottom line is that the House and Senate sponsors originally went forward with the bill knowing they had not sought any organizational lobbying support, and any presumption that they thought such would not be necessary proved wrong.

Defect No. 4—Leaving the ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Defenseless

In my effort to assume, for now, the best of the Republican senators, I told Sen. Pody that there was a sure measure of wisdom in not enacting a bill that the attorney general would not defend in court. This is particularly problematic since the only alternative in that case would be for the two Speakers to agree to hire outside counsel. Speaker McNally was not going to take my word on whether the bill was constitutionally defensible over that of the attorney general. I can appreciate that. Sen. Pody, to his credit, appreciated this problem and tried to get a letter from Liberty Counsel agreeing to defend the bill if passed, but there just wasn’t enough time.

Can the Defects Be Overcome?

Now, the question is whether those senators who on Monday professed their pro-life bona fides on the floor and those who have since professed them to disgruntled pro-life constituents will do what needs to be done this summer to make sure this bill is given every opportunity to pass in January and will garner their votes.

What has happened is that opponents of the bill this year have now laid their political bed among pro-life voters, and they will have to sleep in it.

Continuing to say, as some have done, that “this bill isn’t strong enough” or “this isn’t the right vehicle” is going to ring hollow with pro-life voters next year if they don’t attend the summer hearings to learn for themselves the constitutional bona fides of the bill or at least offer some of their campaign and leadership PAC funds to pay for the expenses of legal experts who will come testify in support of the bill.

But if they don’t do those things, then in my book they need to come up with their own different and better vehicle, or give a credible, legally demonstrative explanation for why any attempt to seek Roe’s reversal is a constitutionally foolish errand.

Time will tell as to how pro-life this Republican majority is in the Senate, but this year time was not on the side of those pro-life activists who wanted to be leaders in the effort to overthrow Roe v. Wade, not just wish the best to others.


NOTES

  1. I do not say that in a pejorative way. I think the attorney general would agree that my jurisprudential philosophy and understanding of constitutional interpretation and, particularly, my more limited view of the judicial power are more conservative than his.

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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Picture of crosses and a line drawing of a hand on the Bible with Tennessee flag stars in the background

Oath-Keeping in the State Senate at Eastertime

Most Christians will celebrate Easter this Sunday and on Monday, the Tennessee Senate will vote on a motion that would pull the so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill out of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee to the floor of the Senate for debate and consideration. It’s called a Rule 63 motion, and it is rarely made. But these two consecutive days will give us a window into our state senators’ views on oath-taking compared to God’s.

The Seriousness With Which God Takes His Oaths

To put our consideration of political oaths in perspective, it would be good to consider how God looks at oaths He makes. One might say that the whole story of the Bible is about oath-keeping, specifically the revelation of how God kept His oath to fulfill His covenant.

While the details and significance of God’s oath and covenant are often little discussed today, Easter is about a “new” covenant, a covenant made by God with Jesus, who the Apostle Paul described as the “last Adam” and the “second man” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45–47; see also Romans 5:12–17). In Jesus, Christians believe God kept His oath to fulfill the blessings flowing from the fidelity of Adam and his descendants to the covenant God swore to them as well as the sanctions flowing from their lack of fidelity thereto.

There is more that could be said about that, but here is the larger point relative to Monday’s Senate vote: Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension is a clear demonstration of how seriously God takes oaths.

The Oath Our Legislators Take

This is the oath our legislators take when they are sworn into office:

I [full name of legislator] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this General Assembly, I will, in all appointments, vote without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice; and that I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people, or consent to any act or thing, whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this state. (emphasis supplied)

To appreciate what the oath affirms, it needs to be put in the context of what it does not affirm and what I know is weighing on some senators’ minds.

Why do I know what may be weighing on their minds? Because a Rule 63 motion was before me back when I was a senator (1996, I think), and to my knowledge that was actually the last time such a motion has been made in the state Senate.

Wrongly Redirecting Delegated Authority

Whether it’s abortion or any other issue, one thing that naturally weighs on a senator’s mind in a situation like this is how his or her vote affects his or her relationship to the Speaker and the consequences politically and legislatively of bucking the Speaker’s wishes.

But the first thing to note about a senator’s oath of office is that there is no oath of fealty to the Speaker to do as he or she wishes or commands.

In other words, to cast a vote tinged with a desire to please, placate, curry favor with, or avoid the wrath of a Speaker and not on the merits of the issue is “ injurious to the people,” because it does “lessen [and] abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this state.”

How? For one thing, the people from 32 of the 33 Senate districts did not vote to have the Speaker represent them. Voters do not delegate the authority they hold under the Tennessee Constitution to a legislator for that legislator to then make a de facto delegation of that authority to the Speaker to vote as he or she wishes.

But for the Christian legislator, the issue runs deeper: The legislator must consider, Do I believe that a certain relationship with the Speaker necessarily determines my effectiveness as a legislator from God’s perspective? Put another way, do I believe the Speaker is more sovereign over legislative matters on which I work and my political future than God?

The Quasi-Sanctity of the Committee System

Given the foregoing, to me the weightiest argument for voting against a Rule 63 motion is the one I heard as a senator—preserving the sanctity of the committee system.

The argument is that the committee process provides for orderly and due consideration of proposed legislation, and that the process will be destroyed if senators start filing a Rule 63 motion every time he or she is unhappy with a committee’s decision. There is a real element of truth to that argument, given that thousands of bills are filed each year.

Thus, Rule 63 motions should not be made for light or transient reasons. If either the issue or the exigencies of the situation to be addressed by the legislation were not compelling, then I would leave the action of the committee alone. The issue can be dealt with again in the next legislative session.

Is There an Oath to Uphold the Committee System?

However, in a senator’s oath of office, there is also no oath of allegiance to the committee system established by Senate rules by which his or her conscience is bound.

Moreover, Rule 63 exists in order that senators fulfill the purpose of their oath of office. By it, the Senate body as a whole recognizes that man-made rules for the administration of business should not stand in the way of some things, like, perhaps, protecting and securing God-given rights.

Not protecting and securing God-given rights and making the will of the majority of nine senators the absolute will of the whole body is, to me, “injurious to the people” and definitely has “a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this state.”

Would I Vote for the Rule 63 Motion?

Now that we all know why Rule 63 exists, here are the questions I would have to ask and answer for myself and before God, given the oath of office:

  • If protecting an unborn child’s right to life and asserting to the federal judiciary the reasons why the rationale employed by its decades-old abortion precedents no longer pertains is not important enough for the Senate as a whole to debate, what issue would ever be? After all, we are not just talking about medical procedures or the relationship between abortion rights and adult sexual liberty, but about the life and death of other, innocent human beings who get none of the due process assured by the Constitution.
  • Would passage of this bill add any weight and gravity to the push for Roe’s reversal by other states, given our knowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court can be highly motivated by cultural mood swings, as happened with reversing a 40-year old precedent in regard to same-sex “marriage”? In other words, are there any exigencies to be taken into here?
  • Should I depend on other states and their lawyers1 to have written their fetal heartbeat bills well and to have made the most legally compelling arguments? In other words, if their potentially feeble efforts are enjoined, I can count on their failure being thrown in my face next session and no one listening to my explanation as to why our bill and arguments are different and we should go forward anyway.

I can’t speak for others, but my answers would cause me to vote for the motion, because it would seem good to me to get started sooner rather than later the litigation process by which the inalienability of the right to life will be defended or denied.

And, at least to my mind, I would expect the God who created that life and bestowed that right to take very seriously my oath to defend its2 taking without being afforded due process of law.


NOTES

  1. Some senators might point to the fact that the attorney general is not sure the bill can be upheld as constitutional. Perhaps his arguments don’t win in court, but forfeiting on the front end the opportunity to win doesn’t seem to be a good alternative. The fact is the Judiciary Committee members and the Speaker were given a legal argument for the bill along with law review articles and other materials supporting that argument. If senators are waiting until some attorney general tells them reversal of Roe v. Wade is a slam dunk win so that there’s no risk of putting money in the pockets of Planned Parenthood’s attorneys, then that will never happen. We have judges because lawyers don’t agree on what the law is or should be.
  2. If our attorney general cannot or will not defend an injury to the fundamental right to life with every argument he can marshal, then I have no doubt the two Speakers will serve their respective bodies by finding an attorney who will defend what the majority of them approved. Otherwise, each body can replace their Speaker if they have the political will to do so. The point is, there are always options, even if some are difficult or unpleasant to take. On more than one occasion, I directly bucked the express will of the Speaker with whom I served, so this complaint falls on deaf ears with me.

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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placing blaming with pointing fingers

Pointing Fingers and Placing Blame on the ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill

I met with mixed emotions the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote late Tuesday to defer a vote on the pro-life “fetal heartbeat” bill until more testimony could be provided during a summer hearing, after which the bill could be taken back up next January. The outcome really tested what I believe.

Restoring laws that respect God-given life and the creational design of marriage has been and will continue to be foremost on my policy agenda. But, to be honest, the push for passage of this bill was not on my agenda for this session. It was initiated by legislators, so I left them to handle their own business while I was focused on the other issue, marriage.

A Waste of Time?

But I pulled away from that work for the last week or so to help Senator Pody get the “heartbeat” bill worded right and develop a legal argument supporting its constitutionality. So, having been distracted from my planned work only to learn that at the end of Tuesday’s hearing there was never any intention of giving the proffered testimony any real consideration really magnified my disappointment and frustration.

By all appearances, I had wasted my time over the last week researching cases, preparing an extensive legal memorandum and my abbreviated oral testimony, and assembling and delivering to legislators a notebook of law review articles and other materials to back up my testimony. Moreover, Tennessee had foregone an opportunity to join a growing chorus of states passing “heartbeat” bills in an effort to force the U.S. Supreme Court into revisiting Roe.

As I thought about what happened, I wanted to point fingers and place blame, and there were a host of good targets.

Putting the Blame-Game in Perspective

But as I tried to make sense of it, another core belief registered in my mind that I knew had to be taken into consideration before I could assign blame—what I believe is true about God.1

Lying in the dustbin of modern evangelicalism, with its emphasis on the self and how we feel instead of what we think, is regular teaching about who God is from God’s own perspective.

Get a load of how the Westminster Divines defined God and you will see what I mean. (It’s long, but mentally luxuriate in some of its expressions):

God . . . is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty. God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands.2

I suspect when some people read that, they will shudder and think how horrible such a God must be. I get that; I really do. After all, that kind of God crushes every proud thought we naturally have about how good, wise, influential, and significant we are. Self-esteem must deny such a God (which may explain why much of modern evangelicalism doesn’t talk much about all of that which is true of God).

But to others, it may have been their point of departure in understanding how amazing the mercy and grace of God really is toward us, because in coming to see who God really is, they realized that the infinitude of their insolence was justly damnable.

What This Means When Expectations and Providence Collide

Here, though, is my point: When these thoughts about who God is become precious to a person, they become an anchor to which that person can hold when the present outworking of God’s providence doesn’t make sense, and they can provide a peace that is, indeed, “beyond understanding” and “not such as the world can give” (Philippians 4:7; John 14:27).

I’ve still got a long way to go before these thoughts about God and how He works out His purposes become to me, in the words of the Psalmist, “better than life” (Psalm 63:3), but I was reminded of them after Tuesday’s vote and they bid me to let go of trying to place blame for what happened.

It was as if God said, “If you must point a finger, David, then point it at Me. I alone am big enough to bring out of what you see as defeat the victory that I have been planning to bring out of that bill all along. Do you trust Me in that?”

That was enough for me. Now back to my work on marriage.

Read David’s Three-Minute Testimony Before the Senate Judiciary Committee


NOTES

  1. What follows is not to disavow human responsibility and our need as voters to know who did what that we might discharge our solemn duty before God to hold accountable those to whom authority has been entrusted. In time I will know that story more fully, at which time you will know who was really doing what and, as best I can judge, why. Rather, today’s commentary is my attempt to hold in tension without denying one for the other both personal responsibility and God’s sovereignty as reflected in Acts 4:27-28.
  2. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter II, Parts I and II.

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

FACT-RSS-Blog-Icon-small Get David Fowler’s Blog as a feed.

David Fowler gives his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the "fetal heartbeat" bill on April 9, 2019.

David Fowler’s Testimony in Support of the ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill

FACT President David Fowler gave his three-minute testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Tennessee Capitol on April 9, 2019, in support of the “fetal heartbeat” bill, SB 1236. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Pody, prohibits abortions from the point a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Mr. Fowler’s Three-Minute Testimony

Chairman Bell and members of the Judiciary Committee,

My name is David Fowler. I am a 1983 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, taught an introductory course in the philosophy of government and jurisprudence at Bryan College, and was a member of this Committee from 1994 until 2006. Since then I have served as the president of both Family Action of Tennessee and The Family Action Council of Tennessee.

The proposed amendment rests on two legal arguments. The first challenges prevailing abortion precedents in regard to what constitutes viability. It offers not only a commonsense understanding of viability, but also a scientifically objective measure of viability that does not make rights dependent on advances in modern medicine. When infanticide is being applauded and the Court’s precedents appear to make such constitutionally permissible, I think it is time the Supreme Court re-examine the question of viability and consider using a diagnostic measure of viability instead of a prognostic one. This amendment would allow that issue to be considered.

But I would also like to commend to you a constitutional argument in support of this bill based on the question, what rights and whose rights are protected by the Constitution? This argument puts at issue for the first time in the abortion context whether the rights possessed by individuals depend for their existence in the first instance only upon positive legal enactments and judicial pronouncements and whether, if belief in such “inalienable” or “absolute” rights still exists, the people have authorized state governments to protect and make more secure those rights.

If our rights come only from decisions of the United States Supreme Court, then our great Republic will die from ingesting an understanding of judicial supremacy that our Founding Fathers feared. The only antidote—given Congress’ abdication of its duties—is for you to exercise the counterbalancing powers of federalism and dual sovereignty established by our Constitution to assert not just the state’s interest in life, but on behalf of unborn human beings their rights protected and preserved by the Ninth Amendment1 and put their rights at juxtaposition against an expansive view of liberty that goes beyond the clear intent of our Constitution2 and is manufactured by judicial pronouncements.

The importance of this argument was driven home by three things in the 6th Circuit’s decision last week upholding Kentucky’s ultrasound law. First, that is the Court to which any appeal concerning the constitutionality of this bill would go. Second, by its use of the words “unborn child” or “unborn life” a total of 30 times in the first 17 pages of its opinion, the Court appeared to signal to those with ears to hear that it knows abortion takes the life of a child, another human being. And this bears on the third reason the Beshear case is important.

Beshear cites with approval and describes in the following way the 8th Circuit’s en banc approval of a North Dakota informed consent law,

The statute required physicians to give patients a written statement providing, among other things, “[t]hat the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being” . . . .3

Our Circuit knows we are speaking not only of a “whole . . . human being,” but one who is also a “separate . . . human being” from his or her mother.

Either the Ninth Amendment, which protects unenumerated common law rights, needs to protect the right to life of a child en ventra se mere, as the common law put it, or the Supreme Court needs to say, as the late Justice Antonin Scalia said about where the balance should be drawn between liberty and life in right to die cases:

It is quite impossible . . .that those citizens will decide upon a line less lawful than the one we would choose; and it is unlikely . . . that they will decide upon a line less reasonable.4

Urging the Court to leave the issue of abortion to the states actually restores one of the “blessings of liberty”5 that was lost in Roe. As Justice Kennedy wrote in 2011 on behalf of a unanimous Court in Bond v. United States6, “‘freedom is enhanced by the creation of two governments, not one,’” because it ‘secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.’”7

In my opinion, for this Body and the Courts to disregard fundamental rights at common law—here the right to life—in favor of only positively declared rights and then only in abortion-related decisions would be to do what we were all forbidden to do by the very last words in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, “retreat from interpreting the full meaning of [our Constitution] in light of all of our precedents.”8

I conclude by paraphrasing only slightly what Obergefell’s majority said when it was presented with a new rights claim, as I’m here suggesting,9 “When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture [which I submit Roe and Casey are], a claim to [life in relation to] liberty must be addressed.”10

Making that claim, as de facto guardian ad litem on behalf of the voiceless human beings killed by abortion, is exactly what I submit this bill does.

I would urge you to vote for this bill.

NOTES

  1. “The Enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
  2. “If the Fifth Amendment uses ‘liberty’ in this narrow sense, then the Fourteenth Amendment likely does as well. See Hurtado v. California, 110 U. S. 516, 534-535 (1884). Indeed, this Court has previously commented, ‘The conclusion is . . . irresistible, that when the same phrase was employed in the Fourteenth Amendment [as was used in the Fifth Amendment], it was used in the same sense and with no greater extent.’ Ibid. And this Court’s earliest Fourteenth Amendment decisions appear to interpret the Clause as using ‘liberty’ to mean freedom from physical restraint. . . . That the Court appears to have lost its way in more recent years does not justify deviating from the original meaning of the Clauses.” Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2584, 2632 (Thomas, J., dissenting)
  3. Case No. 17-6151/6183, p. 16.
  4. Cruzan v. Director, Mo. Dept. of Health, 497 U.S 261, 293, 110 S. Ct. 2841, ___(1990) (Scalia, J., dissenting)
  5. Preamble, United States Constitution
  6. 564 U.S. 21, 131 S.Ct. 2355 (2011)
  7. Bond, 131 S.Ct. at 2364
  8. Casey v. Planned Parenthood, 505 U.S. 833, 901, 112 S. Ct. 2791, ___ (1992). This is the full context for the quotation: “Our Constitution is a covenant running from the first generation of Americans to us and then to future generations. It is a coherent succession. Each generation must learn anew that the Constitution’s written terms embody ideas and aspirations that must survive more ages than one. We accept our responsibility not to retreat from interpreting the full meaning of the covenant in light of all of our precedents.” (emphasis added)
  9. The quote that follows is remarkably similar to what Blackstone said about the historical swings between protecting and undermining the fundamental law: “The absolute rights of every Englishman, (which, taken in a political and extensive sense, are usually called their liberties,) as they are founded on nature and reason, so they are coeval with our form of government; though subject at times to fluctuate and change: their establishment (excellent as it is) being still human. At some times we have seen them depressed by overbearing and tyrannical princes; at others so luxuriant as even to tend to anarchy, a worse state than tyranny itself, as any government is better than none at all. But the vigour of our free constitution has always delivered the nation from these embarrassments: and, as soon as the convulsions consequent on the struggle have been over, the balance of our rights and liberties has settled to its proper level; and their fundamental articles have been from time to time asserted in parliament, as often as they were thought to be in danger.” William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 119-120, 125-129 (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1893)
  10. Obergefell, 135 S. Ct. at 2598.

Download the PDF version of David’s testimony

Read the Press Release

 

This is the slide presentation that accompanied Mr. Fowler’s April 9, 2019, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the "fetal heartbeat" bill and, after reading his testimony, may help you “picture” what he was saying.

This is the slide presentation that accompanied Mr. Fowler’s April 9, 2019, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the “fetal heartbeat” bill and, after reading his testimony, may help you “picture” what he was saying.

PDF of The Sphere or Universe of All Rights

How the Senators Voted

Sen. Mike Bell proposed a motion to move the bill to summer study. The motion to move the bill to summer study passed 5-3 with one abstention. Here is the breakdown of the votes:

  • Those who voted “yes” included Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga), Sen. Sara Kyle (D-Memphis), Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon).
  • Those who voted “no” included Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma), Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis), and Sen. Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro).
  • The absention (present not voting) was from Sen. Kerry Robertson (R-Springfield).

Watch the Video of the Discussion on SB 1236

The entire discussion of SB 1236 can be found by clicking on the video player above and then going to timecode 2:42:10 – 4:10:13. David Fowler’s testimony is at timecode 2:58:26 – 3:04:23.

 

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