No Ten for Tennessee

This past election, South Dakota, Colorado, and California soundly defeated important anti-choice bills, but the Democratic sweep of the nation did not extend to Tennessee.

State Republicans, led by recently re-elected Knoxville Representative Stacey Campfield, are already attempting to resurrect the previously failed SJR127, an amendment that would “provide that nothing in the Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion”, including pulling government subsidies from Planned Parenthood. The communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party, Bill Hobbs, is on board:

Planned Parenthood is the McDonalds of abortion – millions of babies slaughtered. It’s a moral shame that even one dime of taxpayer money goes to them. Now, thanks to some smart legislating by pro-life Republicans, the $1.5 million the state used to give to Planned Parenthood for various women’s health services (though not abortion, wink wink) may no longer flow into their bank account.

Several Tennessee organizations, including The League of Women Voters, the Tennessee Womens Political Caucus, the Nashville Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU of Tennessee, banded together to protest the legislation in April of this year, citing deceptive rhetoric on the part of the Republican party (the bill was pushed as being a ban on late-term abortions – which are already illegal per federal law).

This is not the first anti-choice action by Campfield, who proposed legislation last year that would have required death certificates to be issued for every abortion. Campfield claims that this law would help Tennessee legislators track the number of abortions performed in the state, though the Tennessee Office of Vital Records already collects this information – without the names or social security numbers of the mothers that would be required for death certificates.  Keri Adams of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee issued the following statement: “We certainly hope the Tennessee Legislature doesn’t invest too much energy in this bill … we think it’s clearly a violation of privacy, and potentially illegal concerning HIPAA regulations.” (HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was created to “permit important uses of information, while protecting the privacy of people who seek care and healing.”)

Campfield’s argument for his proposition is based on the fact that Tennessee currently issues death certificates to miscarriages based on the weight and age of the fetus (500g, or 22 weeks: 68-3-504(a)(1) “Each fetal death of five hundred grams or more, or, in the absence of weight, of twenty-two completed weeks’ gestation or more, that occurs in this state, shall be reported to the office of vital records within ten days of delivery.”  Abortions are very rarely performed after 22 weeks; if they are, it is only for serious health reasons.

Around the time that the CDC reported four deaths among patients who had received medical abortions using the RU-486 pill, Tennessee legislature attempted to push through a mandate for warnings about the “drug that’s killing women”. The four women who had died as a result of an infection were all treated by clinics that did not follow FDA-approved instructions for RU-486.  The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research states that the rate of infection among women using RU-486 is 1 in 100,000 (the same odds of an asteroid hitting the earth in the next year or dying while running a marathon).

Please check out Rachel’s Women’s Health News blog for more information straight from Tennessee.


2 Responses

  1. Great post and thanks again for spreading the word on this. 🙂

  2. Подписался. четкие мысли! спасибо

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