The Tennessee House of Representatives fought to a draw over an anti-abortion amendment today. Pro-Life forces wanted show who was for bringing the resolution out of a subcommittee that defeated it to the House floor for a vote.
They got on a procedural vote to suspend the rules – sort of – with a 55 to 40 tally. But the measure got bogged down in a parliamentary mess. In the end, the House agreed the procedural vote was taken on something that was against its rules.
The fight, which took up most of the day, drew frustrated criticism from Republican Kent Williams, who sponsors pro-Life clinics in his hometown of Elizabethton.
“This issue to me, it’s a social issue, it really is a social issue. And I respect the people who have a different opinion than me, ..but I would like to see it come to a vote, and it’s never going to get there, as long as we start…grandstanding.”
Williams says both parties have used the issue for political purposes.
Fellow Republican Glen Casada of College Grove says the procedural vote will be used to identify pro-Choice candidates in this summer’s legislative elections.
Representative Williams says he’s been attacked politically as a “baby-killer” because in his first term in the House he voted for a Democrat, Jimmy Naifeh, for speaker.
After today’s vote Representative Casada promised to use the issue in elections.
“It is what it is. Some people are for minimum wage, some people don’t want to address illegal immigration, some want a constitutional amendment that would give the authority of deciding abortion rights to the legislature. And there’s some that don’t. And so it’s just an issue, it’s an idea, a concept, and the people need to know about how their legislators stand on all these issues, and that’s one of them, yes.”
The wording of SJR 127:
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 circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.