If passed by Tennessee voters on November 4, Amendment 1 would allow state politicians to pass laws that ban abortion even in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the health or life of the woman. Politicians could pass state laws that would deny lifesaving treatments to pregnant women with critical illnesses like cancer, or even ban access to common forms of birth control, like the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception, that they consider - contrary to respected medical information - to be abortifacients.
Amendment 1 would change the Tennessee state constitution to read: "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, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother." In effect, if passed, Amendment 1 would give state politicians the right to make decisions about the health and lives of women, and takes those rights away from women and their doctors.
"Though the strategy is arguably different, the result is the same," wrote Gaylynn Burroughs, Director of Policy & Research for the Feminist Majority Foundation, in the Fall 2014 issue of Ms. magazine. "If passed, Amendment 67 would threaten abortion rights, birth control, fertility treatments and some medical treatments for critically ill pregnant women and open up the possibility of criminal investigations into miscarriages. All pregnant women's bodies would become potential crime scenes. Supporters of the amendment claim that the change would protect pregnant women from crime but we've heard that one before. The reality is that these laws are used to punish women, many who are struggling with drug dependency and mental-health issues and too often suffer tragic pregnancy outcomes."
Over 80 faith leaders in Colorado have also united in opposition to the extreme ballot measure in their state. "We support the rights of conscience, and a woman's capacity to make a personal decision with consultation from her doctor, her family, her clergy and her God," remarked Reverend Jann Halloran, president of the board of the Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, in a statement released last month. Rabbi Joseph Black, head of the largest Jewish congregation in Colorado, echoed her sentiments.
"While my tradition upholds the sanctity of life, the life and health of the mother is always more important than that of a fetus," Rabbi Black wrote. "To claim that a fertilized egg is anything other than a potential life is to go against Jewish values. It is a dangerous precedent."