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Amendment 1 chips away at women’s rights

Photo: Juliana Wall

Photo: Juliana Wall

Annie Vento, Sports Editor/Copy Editor

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On Nov. 6, 2014, voters in Tennessee passed a dangerous measure threatening women’s rights known as Amendment 1, which will give state officials more authority in regulating and restricting abortion.

Amendment 1 was one of the most carefully-watched items on the ballot, as it presented a profound threat to a woman’s fundamental right to abortion. As a result, Tennessee lawmakers will now have the ability to set up barriers for women needing an abortion, including informed consent and additional obstacles one must cross before being allowed to exercise that right.

Presently, Tennessee is scurrying to join neighboring states by enacting their rigorous anti-abortion laws. According to the Center for Disease Control, or the CDC, about 25 percent of women who seek abortions in Tennessee do so because they are from states that have allowed passage of these outrageous restrictions. The passage of Amendment 1 is Tennessee is analogous to a metastasizing cancer spreading across the South and across the United States as a whole. In the case of Amendment 1, it will be a slow demise of women’s reproductive rights, as already evidenced by the 25 percent of women who are coming to Tennessee to obtain an abortion. With more women fleeing to Tennessee to receive an abortion, the South is in need of wider abortion access, not more restrictions.

Just as women fought for suffrage and equal education, women today are fighting for control over their own bodies. On Tuesday, Jan. 13, this fundamental right was fought for in Nashville, Tenn., when hundreds of women protested in front of the Capitol building as lawmakers reconvened for the first time in 2015. They carried signs that included phrases such as “our bodies, our choice!” and “politicians make crappy doctors.”

The protesters were rallying specifically against the new measures that have already been proposed by lawmakers following the passage of Amendment 1. A group of representatives presented a measure to make informed consent necessary, which would involve giving women information from lawmakers before getting an abortion. Others, particularly representative Rick Womick, called for women to be required to receive ultrasounds before receiving an abortion.

Lawmakers should not be able to make medical decisions about women’s reproductive health, especially when the majority of lawmakers today are men who will never be in the position of having an abortion and are ignorant of what it is like to be a woman. The Constitution grants all citizens liberty and specific freedoms, and by restricting a woman’s access to abortion, it is restricting her constitutional rights.

Women must stand and speak up in defense of their basic human rights before it is too late. Amendment 1 is a slippery slope to removing all women’s rights regarding their reproductive health and, if this amendment is allowed to stand, women may lose absolute control of their bodies.

 

 

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