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Tennessee Right to Life Legislative Action Center

Yes on 1 Ballot Committee Files Friend of the Court Brief

Advocates Urge 6th Circuit to Protect Voting Rights of Pro-Life Tennesseans

Nashville, October 14, 2016--On Friday morning, supporters of the 2014 Amendment dealing with abortion regulation in Tennessee filed a Friend of the Court brief as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to consider arguments as to whether the votes of some pro-life Tennesseans may be thrown out.

8,850 Tennessee voters joined their names to the brief on behalf of the Yes on 1 campaign arguing that the campaign has a direct interest not only in supporting Amendment 1's ratification, but also in ensuring that the constitutional right to vote guaranteed to each Tennessean is fully protected.

On November 4, 2014, Amendment 1 was passed by a vote of 53% to 47%.  Three days later, supporters of Planned Parenthood filed suit in Federal District Court insisting that the minority must prevail over the majority because "certain votes in favor of Amendment 1 receive(d) disproportionate weight..."

Earlier this year, Federal District Judge Kevin Sharp sided with Planned Parenthood and ordered that the votes of potentially tens of thousands of voters be disqualified on the basis that "voting for governor is a precondition to having a vote on an amendment count." Sharp has directed state election officials to prepare to recount the 2014 ballots, an order that has been stayed pending a decision by the 6th Circuit in the case.

"The people of Tennessee spoke with their votes in 2014," said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life.  "Pro-life advocates organized early to win Amendment 1 and then worked the campaign plan all the way to the closing of the polls on election night.  As a result of focused hard work and sacrifice, the amendment was won in 88 of 95 counties. That's how our political system works and we fully expect the courts to uphold the votes of every Tennessean, including those who supported the passage and ratification of Amendment 1."

Tennessee election law expert Daniel Horwitz filed the brief on behalf of Yes on 1 saying "This is not a case about whether one is pro-life or pro-choice.  This is a case about whether one believes that people who are pro-life should have the right to vote."

As the case unfolds, additional briefs and oral arguments by both sides are expected to be scheduled by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.



Protect The People's Vote on Amendment 1:  Sign the 6th Circuit Court Amicus Brief

Rather than accept defeat, Planned Parenthood is willing to disenfranchise pro-life voters in order to ensure that Tennessee remains an abortion destination.  That was unacceptable on Election Day 2014 and it remains so nearly two years after clear public approval of Amendment 1.

On November 4, 2014, Tennessee voters approved passage of pro-life Amendment 1 to the Tennessee Constitution by a margin of 53-47 percent. Three days later, Planned Parenthood Board Chair, Tracey E. George and other Planned Parenthood Board members filed a federal lawsuit claiming that their voting rights had been violated and that ballots were not properly counted.

Yes on 1 calls the lawsuit one more example of pro-abortion activists refusing to trust the common sense and compassion of Tennesseans who largely favor legal protections for abortion-vulnerable women, girls and unborn children in our state.

"Amendment 1 was passed with a clear majority of Tennesseans casting a vote to approve the language," said Brian Harris, coordinator for Yes on 1 Ballot Committee. "No voter should be stripped of their right to effect social change with their vote or to positively impact the public policies of their community, state and nation."

On April 22, 2016, Federal District Court Judge Kevin Sharp ruled in favor of the Planned Parenthood plaintiffs and demanded a recount of the ballots on Amendment 1.  Sharp also maintained that the ballot of any Tennessean having voted for Amendment 1 but not also casting a vote in the Governor's race must be thrown out.

The case is now on appeal to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati with a hearing date to be set.

The Yes on 1 Ballot Committee urges concerned Tennesseans to Protect the People's Vote on Amendment 1 by signing the Friend-of-the-Court (amicus) brief being filed by Yes on 1.



Tennessee Student Places Third in National Right to Life Oratory Contest

Danielle Quesinberry Wants Women to be Aware of Hope-Filled Adoption Stories Like Hers

Tennessee's winner of the 17th annual Pro-Life Oratory Contest for High School Students placed third at the national contest held July 9 in Herndon, Virginia.

Danielle Quesinberry, daughter of Robin and Lisa Quesinberry of Seymour, won the opportunity to represent Tennessee during state finals held earlier this summer in Nashville.  There, Danielle's speech was awarded first place and an expense paid trip to the national finals held each year in conjunction with the National Right to Life convention.

Danielle spoke positively of the impact that adoption has on individuals and families.  "What if my adoption story would have never been written, and I didn't exist to share it with you right now. I know my 16 year-old birth mom contemplated terminating her pregnancy with me, making me just another statistic....", she said. "(But) my life mattered to my birth mom, so instead of abortion she chose adoption, and I'm so thankful she did."

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