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Tennessee Right to Life Legislative Action Center

Our Next Step: Vote Pro-Life on August 2 in Tennessee

Together, with God's help, Pro-life Tennesseans have made great strides during the past 15 years in the enactment of constitutionally-enforceable laws drafted and lobbied by Tennessee Right to Life. Among them:

Pro-Life Amendment 1 to Tennessee Constitution

Informed consent for women and girls considering abortion

Physician-only counseling

48-hour waiting period

Anti-coercion policy & required posting inside abortion facilities

Sale of fetal remains prohibited

Preferential treatement for Planned Parenthood stripped from state law

Title X government funds redirected away from Planned Parenthood

Statewide hotline for reporting abortion facility abuses

Choose Life plate supporting pro-life agencies and programs

Ban on dispensing RU 486 by telemedicine / skype

Unborn Victims of Violence Act at all stages of gestation

Viability assessment required and post-viability abortions banned

Natural childbirth over abortion established as state's preference

However, the greatest challenges still remain before Tennessee's pro-life movement as we seek to restore full legal protection to innocent human life. Our next step must be to return pro-life super-majorities to the Tennessee state House, state Senate, and Tennessee's Congressional delegation.  In addition, considering the difficulty of what remains to be done, Tennessee must have a Governor with the demonstrated commitment and capability to stand without fail for life.

Based on objective criteria, Tennessee Right to Life PAC endorsements have been made following careful review of candidate surveys, voting records, public statements and statewide meetings between candidates and 15 members of the TRL Endorsement Committee. In open seats with multiple candidates meeting endorsement criteria, those candidates have been listed for consideration by the voter.

Tennessee Right to Life urges votes and active support for the endorsed candidates by every Tennessean concerned for the unborn, the elderly and medically vulnerable.  Working together we will continue to meet the challenges and hasten the day when every life is protected by the laws of our communities, state and nation.






When someone is in a coma, they are much like an unborn child. They have a heartbeat, they have cognitive capabilities, and they have a soul. Just like an unborn child, they also cannot speak; they cannot decide for themselves what they want, what will happen to them, or what will become of their life. They are simply alive, unaware, and unprotected.” These were some of the opening words in a speech given by William Blankenship, winner of the recent Tennessee Right to Life Pro-Life Oratory Contest for high school students.

The 19th annual event was held at Aquinas College in Nashville on Saturday, April 28. Winners from 11 participating chapters across the state qualified to attend by competing against over 30 public, private, and home-schooled students in grades 9-12. Each contestant researched, wrote, and presented an original 5-7 minute pro-life speech on abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, or stem-cell research.

William, a high school senior, represented Macon County. Because he had once been in a coma, William was able to speak first hand on the frightening prospect of someone else controlling whether or not he would live. “I speak from the point of a man who has been in a coma, and who has experienced firsthand the state of being in which I heard the discussions … as to whether or not to pull the plug rather than to keep me alive by machine…..there is nothing more terrifying than not being able to say, ‘I want to live! I want life!’”

Other finalists in the state contest were William Shaw, a senior from Cheatham County, explained the right of an unborn child to have life; Ireland Duggin, a sophomore representing Rutherford County, who described the inhumanity of abortion; and Violet Thorne, a freshman representing Wilson County, relayed information regarding euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.

Later this summer, William will represent Tennessee at the National Right to Life Jane B. Thompson Oratory Contest in Overland Park, KS.

“The students who present speeches at this annual event never cease to amaze me. Anyone of our finalists would represent Tennessee well at the national competition!” exclaimed Frances Arthur, oratory contest chairman. “Their speeches were impressive and their delivery was impassioned. I hope that each of the county winners will be given opportunities to share their speeches again. These are our future leaders, and it is our responsibility to support them in their endeavors.”

Click here to learn more about the oratory contest and pictures of the contestants.