For the Women of Tennessee – Choice is on the Ballot
The war on women’s reproductive rights continues. No longer limited solely to surgical abortion Republican extremists are now targeting out-of-state travel for abortion procedures, access to abortive drugs and birth control. Emboldened by their successful criminalization of abortion in half the states, they have now set their sights on making the loss of reproductive autonomy the law of the land. In the aftermath resulting from the reversal of Roe v. Wade, November’s election will be critical to the lives, health, and well-being of women across America, most particularly those in Tennessee.
- Homicide is the leading cause of death in pregnant women.
- This state has the 4th highest number of women killed by men.
- The CDC reports that Tennessee has the seventh highest incidence of teenage pregnancy in the country.
- Statistics show that in the U.S. 43.6% of females experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Unfortunately, Tennessee’s abortion law provides no exceptions for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.
- This callous disregard for rape victims was brought to light by the horrific murder of Eliza Fletcher by a convicted felon who was linked to a previous rape but remained free due to delayed evidence testing. That revealed that DNA evidence testing of sexual assault kits was taking two and three years to be processed. Only public outrage prompted Republican lawmakers to provide the critical funding needed to address the staffing shortage responsible.
- Tennessee’s anti-abortion law is also one of the strictest in the country making abortion a Class C felony punishable by up to 1 year in prison. Since the law makes performing all abortions illegal, it shifts the legal burden to the doctor to convince a court that the procedure was medically necessary. Until such time as appropriate revisions are made to clarify the law, the lives of women and children are unnecessarily at risk as doctors, fearful of legal prosecution, refrain from performing any type of medical procedure or intervention which could be construed as abortive. This governor and his legislative majority remain disinclined to remedy the law’s ambiguous language.
Now more than ever the women of Tennessee need to defend democracy, women’s rights and women’s lives. Your vote is your voice.
by Chloe Cerutti