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A Pro-Life Decision 17 Years in the Making

On Tuesday, the U.S Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld the vote of the people in 2014 in favor of Amendment 1 to the Tennessee Constitution. The amendment essentially reversed a decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000, holding that abortion was a “right” under our Tennessee Constitution. The 6th Circuit’s opinion was not just a legal version of a WWE SmackDown to the pro-abortion plaintiffs and the federal district judge who agreed with them, but it was a reminder to me about how to think of another issue on which I’m working.

Court Exposes Baseless Legal Arguments

There was much in the court’s opinion to like if you are pro-life or if you simply believe in the U.S. Constitution and abhor the philosophy of those judges who like to figure out the result they want and then reason backward to get there. However, my two favorite lines were these summations of the plaintiffs’ case:

Plaintiffs’ arguments amount to little more than a complaint that the campaigns in support of Amendment 1, operating within the framework established by state law, turned out to be more successful than the campaigns against Amendment 1.

Their grievance in this case thus appears to be driven by regrets, not so much that the State officials’ actions infringed their rights, but that their ‘adversaries,’ supporters of Amendment 1, may have campaigned more effectively than did opponents of Amendment 1.

I think it would be fair to interpret these statements something like this: “You are just sore losers. The other side did a better job getting its message out, so, when the election was over, you ran to the courthouse looking for a friendly judge who would bail you out despite your lousy legal arguments.”

If that sounds a bit blunt, I hope you’ll cut me some slack since I spent a good portion of my life working on this, filing the original constitutional amendment 17 years ago this month. But that fact, along with the court’s contrast between the two political campaigns, reminds me to never give up on things of fundamental importance and work hard, because, in time, God just might vindicate that which is fundamental, in this case, the sanctity of life, of which He is its Author.

The Long Road to This Week’s Victory

This week’s legal victory, however, must not be seen in isolation but in the larger context. I wish space allowed me to convey to you the twists, turns, pitfalls, and potholes that were encountered just by me during the ten years in which I worked to help get the amendment through the Legislature. I’m sure my friends at Tennessee Right to Life have their own compelling stories. Suffice it to say, at times the effort was frustrating, discouraging, and downright tiring.

I’ll never forget, though, Lt. Gov. Wilder asking then Sen. Ron Ramsey and me to stop pushing the amendment, because it was never going to pass the Legislature and our efforts would only create friction and division among a then rather congenial group of senators. We politely declined.

To be honest, a lot of people naturally saw the effort as rather hopeless when this process started. Democratic majorities controlled both the House and Senate, and the amendment had to be approved by a vote of two-thirds of both chambers. In other words, we would need 66 votes in the House, and Democrats then held 59 of the seats!

I think my friend Ron Ramsey would agree with me on this, but it wasn’t assurance of eventual victory that propelled us to press on despite Lt. Gov. Wilder’s request, but rather a conviction that fighting to protect innocent, unborn lives from death was worth the effort and any collegial discomfort we might experience.

The Encouraging Reminder I Needed

And that brings me to today and another issue on which I’ve been working now for two years.

Many think of the efforts begun by the Family Action Council of Tennessee in January 2016 to challenge the legal effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding government-licensed marriages of same-sex couples in the same way they thought of the abortion amendment—we’re tilting at windmills, we can’t win, the marriage ship has sailed, and so on. That may turn out to be the case, but if a Christian, pro-marriage organization will not defend to the end that form of union between man and woman that alone mirrors the very image of the Triune God and that embodies what is real and true about the nature of marriage, then what is our reason for existence?

Who knows? Maybe if we, along with a handful of others, don’t give up and we continue to work hard, God just might, in time, vindicate that which He ordained and holds dear—marriage. After all, that’s what happened with Amendment 1 on Wednesday.


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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U.S. Tax Code Bill Recognizes Preborn Babies

The U.S. House of Representatives recognized children in the womb with the passage of a tax reform bill that allows unborn children to qualify for education savings accounts.

This is “a big pro-life win,” said Andrew Guernsey, senior legislative assistant at the Family Research Council (FRC). “It gets the unborn recognized in the tax code.”

The same tax code that has been known for subsidizing abortions is now making a pro-life stance. Naturally, Planned Parenthood and NARAL are adamantly against the bill because they deem it an attack on a woman’s “reproductive rights.”

While the bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the President before it becomes law, many conservative pro-lifers are encouraged by the change. “Anytime—and in any way—that our laws recognize the unborn as persons, it advances the cause to protect all unborn children,” said Greg Schleppenbach, associate director at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB’s) Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

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Apple Removes Pro-Life Prayer App

Human Coalition’s pro-life prayer app, still available on the Google Play Store, has been yanked from the Apple App Store because it was reported unfavorably in both news outlets Slate and the New Statesman. The app shows a list of prayer requests from the group’s network of seven pro-life pregnancy centers, and when a user signals with a swipe of the thumb that they have prayed for one of the situations, the app tallies the number of prayers.

“The pregnant women we serve are experiencing true crises. Many of them do not have partner support, are single parents with other children, or are caught up in abusive or coercive relationships. Our supporters want to pray for the women and children we serve, and the app is a way of sharing prayer needs with them,” said Human Coalition spokeswoman Lauren Enriquez. While Enriquez believes many of the 7,292 babies saved since Human Coalition’s founding in 2009 are partly due to these prayers, Slate’s Christina Cauterucci called the app “a discomfiting invasion of privacy or a gigantic lie.”

This is not the first time Apple has yanked Christian apps off its store based on complaints. Years ago, the tech giant also removed the apps of two organizations helping ex-homosexuals, Exodus International and Setting Captives Free.

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David Daleiden on His Undercover Pro-Life Work

The Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden, the pro-life activist behind the fetal tissue trafficking exposé videos that revealed Planned Parenthood’s culpability, shared his thoughts about his two-and-a-half year undercover journey recently on the Eric Metaxas Show. Daleiden and coworker Sandra Merritt were charged by the state of California with 15 felonies, many of which dealt with the California video recording law.

Says Daleiden about the charges in the audio interview, “My videos expose the sacred cows of the California political establishment, Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. That’s what is so dangerous about this prosecution is that it is not being brought for legal reasons whatsoever. It is being brought for purely political reasons.” Despite the trumped up charges, Daleiden shows no malice. “This entire undercover project was a project done out of love,” he says.

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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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