The voters of Tennessee have spoken and Amendment 1 passed easily. When county commissioners adopt resolutions in favor of little understood policies and church pastors with just as little understanding push forward such measures with their congregations, handing out political signs for posting in yards and businesses, the public is given to believe that voting yes is the right thing to do. It was rural Tennessee that swept this amendment through. The metropolitan areas, as expected, voted no.

Historically, Amendment 1 was a resolution introduced in the state legislature by our own Diane Black during her time there. How does a woman with a health career background justify denying health services to women?

The legislature is now free to put forth laws that will restrict and deny women’s health services to working class and poor women in the state of Tennessee. Women with resources, like Diane Black, will have no problem getting their needs met. But the folks who voted for this amendment in the poor rural areas of this state will have far more difficulty, and probably more unplanned children.

Those who are ready to restrict and deny abortion services in this state are the same people who refuse to expand Medicaid. They seek to exclude citizens from existing Medicaid programs and cut public education funds, keeping Tennessee at the low end of state ranking. They fight union efforts to organize and raise wages, and resist other family supports. They don’t support a minimum wage, so families working in low wage jobs must continue to rely on government programs like Food Stamps to supplement their poverty wages. 

Now, with a Republican Congress, you can expect to see more cuts in federal supports because ”people need to take responsibility for themselves” is the foundation of the Republican Party. You voted for a dog eat dog world, folks.

Exactly what restrictions will be imposed has yet to be determined. Expect fewer clinics, because the public is convinced they are not safe. As in Texas, women will be forced to travel great distances or use 19th century methods like poison and knitting needle-methods that do not always have the desired effect. Supporters of Amendment 1 tell us they want to protect women and children. 

Politicians told you about the women who have called them to tell them how sad they were about having an abortion. Of course they were! To have an abortion is not a frivolous decision, despite what you may have heard. And women who have access to effective birth control do not need abortions. But the people who want to restrict abortions also want to deny access to birth control. Meantime, many men will continue to run away from their paternal responsibilities while the mothers and children will struggle financially and emotionally.

If you truly believe that abortion is evil, what will you commit to do to support women and the children who they bear? Unwanted children need homes. Will you become a foster parent? Will you adopt children with disabilities and older children who may have developed behavioral problems as a result of abuse, neglect, and poverty?

These are the consequences of our vote for Amendment 1.

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This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, coordinator, at jwund@frontiernet.net.