That’s the opinion that Tennessee Right To Life holds. The entire sentiment is expressed by Tennessee Right to Life this way:

SJR 127 would allow Tennesseans and our elected officials to once again determine abortion policy in our state.

On a matter of life and death, shouldn’t every Tennessean have a say? Let the People Vote: Yes on SJR 127!

SJR 127 is a bill currently before the state Senate. The goal is to amend Tennessee’s Constitution as follows:

… it is proposed that Article I, of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.

Nothing particularly earth shattering here. I hope it gets passed in Tennessee. It’s about finding out what the people of Tennessee want for their state. A recent ‘Tennessean’ Letter to the Editor notes

The object of SJR 127 is to make the Constitution neutral by simply stating, “that nothing in the Constitution secures or protects a right to an abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

Should the people adopt this proposal in 2010, it will not stop one abortion.

What it would do after that time is give our duly elected legislators the opportunity to discuss and vote on whatever regulations and exceptions they and their constituents think are appropriate, instead of judges legislating from the bench.

The interesting thing is the reaction of Senator Joe Haynes to the idea. Six other Tennessee State Senators; Black, Beavers, Crowe, Johnson, McNally and Tracy support the measure and are actively working for its passage. Senator Haynes offers this evaluation of their actions.

“This is the sort of Washington-style, say-one-thing-and-do-another political manipulation that makes voters distrust their elected officials…Actions speak louder than words, and by their actions, Black and her Republican colleagues have shown that they are extremists on this subject and completely out of touch with the opinions of the majority of Tennesseans.”

While it might have been more sensitive of Senator Haynes to have waited until next week to speak out; and beyond the observation Senator Haynes seems inclined to dodge debate, heading instead straight for name calling; Senator Haynes did one thing an elected representative is supposed to do. He appealed to the voters in referencing his concern for “the opinions of the majority of Tennesseans”.

What might those opinions be and how do Senator Haynes’ own actions reflect them? According to a poll commissioned by Tennessee Right to Life, the results of which are posted at Blount County Right to Life’s site:

1. A. (58% of Tennesseans believe life begins at conception.)
2. B. (69% of Tennesseans oppose paying for abortions by taxpayers.)
3. A. (85% of Tennesseans believe women should receive complete informed consent before submitting to an abortion.)
4. B. (78% of Tennesseans believe women should have 48 hours to decide whether to have an abortion.)
5. A. (82% of Tennesseans support requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other medical clinics.)

According to SurveyUSA, in September of 2005, Tennessee ranked 9th in the nation in the percentage of folks identified as Pro-Life. Utah was #1 with 61%, Tennessee was #9 with 51% and Vermont was last with 25%.

The blogs and the rest of the Pro-Abortion crowd are trying to combat these numbers with numbers of their own. R. Neal at TennViews spins the debate in favor of abortion quoting an MTSU study and insulting Republican lawmakers noting

“They can’t seem to decide who to pander to today — right wing extremists or the 70% of Tennesseeans who think abortion should be legal, safe, and rare.”

The only problem is the numbers Neal uses are as follows. Answering the question, “Under what circumstances should abortion be legal?”, Tennesseans respond Any Circumstances – 17%, Certain Circumstances – 55.4% and No Circumstances – 27.6%. Not only does Neal ignore the fact the extremes of the question favor the Pro-Life side of the debate, Neal tries to lump the middle in with the ‘Any Circumstances’ end to arrive at the 70% figure. If I do the same thing, I find that 83% of Tennesseans believe there should be some form of restriction on abortions!

Thus, the question must be asked of Senator Haynes, in what way can the six Senators you named be considered extremist and out of touch with the majority of Tennesseans? Just the opposite would appear to be true. Further, if we look at Senator Haynes’ record, according to Tennessee Right to Life, he

… has opposed even the most basic protections for women and unborn children. In addition to consistently opposing a public vote on abortion offered by SJR 127, Haynes also voted against such common sense policies as parental consent(1995), banning of partial birth abortion(1997) and establishment of the Choose Life specialty license plate(2003.)

Senator Haynes may choose to charge his opponents with hypocrisy and extremism but that’s just his opinion. When he charges, however, his opponents are out of touch with the majority of Tennesseans and implies he is not, that’s quite different. Because the numbers say different. Senator Haynes wants to keep SJR 127 from getting into the hands of Tennesseans because if every Tennessean had his say, there would be common sense restrictions on abortion at the very minimum and it might even get tossed out entirely.

So Senator Haynes doesn’t want you to be able to debate it or discuss it as a state. I’m guessing it is that position that “out of touch with the opinion of the majority of Tennesseans.”

Hoping Senator Haynes’ opposition to SJR 127 gets … well … aborted …

Blue Collar Muse

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