By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD – Despite an aggressive push by those opposing Amendment 1, Tennessee voters adopted the amendment, which will allow for regulation of abortions in the state, by a margin of 728,751 (53 percent) to 656,427 (47 percent).
The number of “yes” votes cast far exceeded the number required (approximately 675,000) for passage. For an amendment to the State Constitution to pass, it needs a simple majority plus 1 in the number of ballots cast in the governor’s race.
Yes on 1, the organization leading the effort to pass Amendment 1, spent about $1.5 million on the campaign, compared to nearly $4 million spent by the opponents who were led by Planned Parenthood. According to a Yes on 1 news release, 16 abortion providers in Tennessee and across the country spent $3.5 million to try to defeat the amendment, which is a victory for pro-life supporters.
“We are grateful to God and to the good people of Tennessee for this victory,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life and a coordinator with Yes on 1. “Despite millions of abortion dollars flooding our airwaves with deceptive ads, the people of Tennessee saw through the falsehoods and made their voices heard.”
Yes on 1 coordinated a statewide grassroots campaign heavy on volunteers and smaller financial contributions from individuals, churches, and pro-life organizations, according to the news release.
Harris also gave special credit to clergy and religious leaders throughout the state who made support for Amendment 1 a priority.
Randy C. Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, was one of the leaders who advocated support for Yes on 1.
“This is a great victory for the unborn,” Davis said.
“It is very encouraging to see how laymen and pastors got involved in the political process,” he continued.
Davis noted that the election result is “pivotal” for Tennessee Christians and is “an important moment in the history of our state.
“I believe this is the beginning of the end of Tennessee being the abortion destination of the South,” he said.
David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), noted that the result of the election “is a great victory for the people of Tennessee, who have reclaimed from our state Supreme Court their right to have a voice on abortion policy in our state. It is a victory for a government of and by and for the people, and a victory for the protection of women and their unborn.”
Fowler also observed that the passage of Amendment 1 “shows that thousands of citizens coming together on something about which they are passionate can accomplish something that money alone can’t buy.”
According to a report Nov. 5 in The Tennessean in Nashville, Tennessee is now one of four states to “explicitly amend its constitution on the issue of abortion.” The word “abortion” also appears in the Arkansas, Colorado, and Rhode Island constitutions, The Tennessean reported.