Voters in Tennessee on Tuesday approved an amendment to the state constitution that will allow state lawmakers to pass and implement legislation restricting abortion. Amendment 1 was passed by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent after a year-long campaign.
The passage of the measure comes in stark contrast to the “personhood” ballot measures in both North Dakota and Colorado that were soundly defeated by voters in those states.
The measure amends the constitution to include language that says “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” The amendment would also allow state lawmakers to “enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion.”
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Passage of the amendment could open the floodgates for Tennessee anti-choice legislation in 2015 and beyond.
Opponents of the measure spent more than $3.4 million and supporters spent more than $1 million on campaigns, according to reporting by The Tennessean. Tennessee joins Arkansas, Colorado, and Rhode Island as states that have explicitly amended their state constitutions regarding abortion.
Supporters of Amendment 1 are calling for state lawmakers to pass new regulations on abortion clinics in the state, including requiring clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. Five abortion clinics in the state already voluntarily meet those standards.