This story from Tennessee:
Senate Passes Abortion Ban Amendment
Posted: 3/9/2006 4:17:00 PM
Updated: 3/9/2006 4:23:33 PM
Despite emotional protest from several lawmakers, the Senate passed a proposed abortion ban amendment to the constitution by a vote of 24 to 9.
People on both sides of the abortion debate converged on the state capital Thursday.
The state Senate debated a proposed amendment to Tennessee's constitution.
Critics say it would lead to new restrictions on abortion.
Supporters say the amendment would allow voters to decide whether abortion should be legal.
Thursday’s debate was a big first step.
They came out in force. People on both sides of the issue came with signs and buttons and they packed the senate gallery to hear the emotional debate.
“We are about to make a decision in this room that affects women’s lives,” said Sen. Rosalind Kurita, D-Clarksville.
The debate boiled down to a proposed constitutional amendment which read: "Nothing in Tennessee's constitution secures or protects the right to an abortion or funding of an abortion."
“Can we say that every 11-year-old girl that has been raped should be forced to bear the rapist’s child?” said Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden.
Some Democrats proposed adding cases of rape incest and life of the mother as exceptions in the constitution, but that attempt failed. “Leave that question of abortion for rape, incest and health of the mother for another time,” said Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville.
Anti-abortion activist Joi Wassil said she came to hear the debate and says the amendment will allow voters to decide about abortion. “The main thing is: ‘Do we believe that human life inside the womb is a human life and worth equal protection under the law?’” she said.
“If we really want to prevent abortion,” “We can eradicate poverty. Provide for child care,” said Sen. Rosalind Kurita, D-Clarksville.
Pro-abortion groups held a rally afterward and promised to fight the proposed amendment in the House. But anti-abortion groups said this was a critical first step.
The big fight will be in the House. The Senate passed a similar resolution last year, but then it failed in the House.
If the bill passes in the House, it would still have a long way to go before the wording is in the constitution. It would have to pass the House and Senate again next year.
Then voters would have to approve the amendment in 2010.