New Pro-Life Law Takes Effect Today in TN

Tougher regulations regarding the treatment of fetal remains in Tennessee go into effect today, July 1, 2016, thanks largely to the leadership of Governor Bill Haslam.  The proposed policy was introduced by the Haslam administration as a priority last January in order "to strengthen accountability and transparency for surgery centers performing abortion." Strongly supported by Tennessee Right to Life and passed overwhelmingly by members of the General Assembly, the new law strengthens existing policy by specifically prohibiting the offer or acceptance of payment for remains of an aborted child including any reimbursement for transfer, shipping or handling of fetal remains.  The legislation was passed in April by overwhelming margins: 28-1 in the state Senate and 79-9 in the state House.  Longtime pro-life leader Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) sponsored the House version while pro-life Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) ably carried the bill in the state Senate. Continue reading

Tennessee Right to Life Endorses Courtney Rogers for Re-Election

Pro-Life organization calls legislator a partner for protection of human life Nashville, June 30, 2016--The state's oldest and largest pro-life organization is urging its members and advocates to support Courtney Rogers for re-election to the state House. "Voters in the 45th district have sent some of the state's most committed pro-life advocates to serve in the state House," said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life.  "We are grateful that Courtney Rogers has carried on that pro-life legacy very well," said Harris. Continue reading

Tennessee Right to Life Endorses Ron Gant for State House

Pro-Life organization urges support for committed Right to Life advocate Nashville, June 29, 2016--The state's oldest and largest pro-life organization is urging its members and advocates to support Ron Gant for election to the state House. "Voters in the 94th district have sent some of the state's most committed pro-life advocates to serve in the state House and Tennessee Right to Life is confident that Ron Gant will carry on that pro-life legacy very well," said Brian Harris, President of Tennessee Right to Life. Continue reading

US Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Protections for Women & Girls

In a stunning defeat for pro-life Americans, five Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have struck down common-sense safeguards passed by the Texas Legislature to protect the health and welfare of women and girls considering abortion.  The provisions are similar to those recently enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly and include a requirement that abortion providers hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (2012) and that abortion facilities be inspected and licensed as other out-patient surgical centers (2015.) Tennessee's similar policies requiring admitting privileges and facility standards were challenged in 2015 by Dr. Gary Boyle and Dr. Wesley Adams, owner-operators of two unlicensed abortion facilities in Bristol and Nashville.  The licensure and inspection requirement was stayed by U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp but other challenged laws are currently enforced throughout the state including informed consent and 48-hour waiting period for women and girls considering abortion and the required admitting privileges for abortion providers. Continue reading

Tennessee Right to Life Endorses Brian Kelsey for Congress

State's oldest and largest pro-life organization calls Kelsey a proven partner in the fight for life Nashville, June 27, 2016--Leaders of Tennessee Right to Life announced their support today for Brian Kelsey in the Republican primary race for the state's 8th Congressional district.  Characterized as a key leader in efforts to promote Right to Life legislative priorities, the organization said that demonstrated leadership made the difference in favor of endorsing Kelsey. As a leading pro-life legislator, Brian Kelsey has used his position and background in the law to draft and defend policies that protect vulnerable unborn children.  "Brian Kelsey has been willing to exert the necessary influence and political capital to ensure that Tennessee's public policies consistently affirm the dignity of every human life," said Stacy Dunn, Vice-President of Tennessee Right to Life. Continue reading

Tennessee Right to Life Endorses Jimmy Eldridge for House Seat

Pro-Life Organization Grateful for Legislator's Consistency and Commitment Nashville, June 27, 2016--Among endorsements announced on Monday, the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization urged its members and advocates to support Jimmy Eldridge for re-election to the state House. "Pro-life Tennesseans rely on Madison County voters to send pro-life leaders to Nashville," said Brian Harris, President of Tennessee Right to Life. "And pro-life leaders in Nashville have come to know that we can rely on Jimmy Eldridge to help lead efforts at the General Assembly." Continue reading

State Counted Votes Correctly on Pro-Life Amendment 1

"The Yes On 1 Campaign sought to intervene in this case to ensure that the court considered the voices of real voters who were threatened with the unacceptable possibility of being disenfranchised," said Daniel Horwitz, attorney for YES on 1 Ballot Committee. "We are deeply grateful that the court recognized these voters' concerns and addressed them by holding unambiguously that its ruling applies retrospectively to Amendment 1, and that every vote cast in that election counted." State Court Judge Declines to Allow YES on 1 as Party to Lawsuit Reaffirms earlier ruling asserting the state's method of counting votes on Amendment 1 is correct Counsel for the YES on 1 Ballot Committee argued today in state court for the right to intervene specifically on behalf of YES voters threatened with having their votes thrown out. This, following a wrong ruling in April by Federal Judge Kevin Sharp who is demanding a recount of the 2014 election results on Amendment 1. Sharp says that those voters casting a ballot for Amendment 1 but not in the governor's race should not be counted. Continue reading

TN Attorney General Appeals Pro-Abortion Ruling

TN Attorney General Appeals Pro-Abortion Ruling to 6th Circuit "We obviously disagree with the federal court's decision...Simply put, deciding what vote is required to amend the Tennessee Constitution is a matter of state law to be determined by a Tennessee Court." Harlow Sumerford, spokesman for Attorney General's Office Tennessee Right to Life expresses gratitude to the many public officials who are working tirelessly to defend the outcome of Amendment 1 and the right of Tennesseans to cast their votes according to their conscience.  In particular, pro-life Tennesseans owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Bill Haslam, Attorney General Herbert Slatery, Deputy Attorney General Janet Kleinfelter, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins and state Senator Randy McNally for making defense of the election a true priority. Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the state is appealing the wrong ruling issued last Friday by federal Judge Kevin Sharp.  Sharp ordered election officials to count only those votes for or against the amendment that were cast by voters who also voted in the governor's race.  Other pro-life votes in favor of Amendment 1 are to be thrown out, according to Sharp's ruling. Continue reading

How Can You Help Ensure Every Pro-Life Vote is Counted?

Pray.  As far back as 1997, prayer has undergirded the long effort to turn back the pro-abortion rulings in Planned Parenthood v Sundquist.  Prayer will sustain and guide pro-life leaders and lawyers as we seek to faithfully defend life, abortion-vulnerable families and the unborn in the weeks and months ahead. Contribute.  Yes on 1 still carries debt from the final weeks of the 2014 campaign. With a 53% - 47% victory, it was critical to move undecided voters through strengthened media buys which closed the race in our favor.  Now, it will be costly to defend the unique interests of Yes on 1, Tennessee Right to Life and pro-life voters in the ongoing legal assault being brought by Planned Parenthood. Continue reading

Right to Life Responds to Court Rulings

The good news:  On Thursday, state Court Judge Michael Binkley upheld the November 2014 vote on Amendment 1 and the state's method of counting the votes on proposed amendments as correct under the Tennessee Constitution.   This victory is key  because ultimate interpretation of the Tennessee Constitution belongs with the state courts and state court judges. Second, the bad news:  On Friday, Federal Court Judge Kevin Sharp demanded a recount of the ballots on Amendment 1 and held that any ballots on which Tennesseans voted for Amendment 1 but did not vote in the Governor's race must be thrown out.  Sharp's basis for taking such a radical step is that he shares the view of Planned Parenthood that votes of those not casting a ballot in the governor's race were more heavily weighted and favored than those of pro-abortion voters who opposed Amendment 1.  This, they claim, violates 14th Amendment protections for due process and equal protection. Judge Sharp has directed state officials including Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins to provide a timetable for a statewide recount of the ballots. Continue reading