To cheers from a crowd of pro-lifers, SJR127 just made it out of the House Health & Human Resources Committee by a vote of 20-7. Rep. Joanne Favors, D-Chattanooga, gave an impassioned speech against the resolution, drawing jeers and groans from the activists who packed the hearing room. They stood and scowled at Favors as she spoke, holding up their big yellow "Yes for SJR127" buttons. Favors basically called bullshit on the whole affair, noting that it's all a political circus to please the GOP's bug-eyed base.
After the vote, House Speaker Kent Williams lectured the audience on manners, telling the pro-lifers to show respect for their political foes. "I don't want to offend anybody, but we don't need signs to tell us how to vote," Williams added.
By a vote of 16-11, the committee shot down an amendment from House Democratic leader Gary Odom to make exceptions for incest, rape and the life of the mother.
Next stop for the resolution is the most critical. It carries a $20,000 fiscal note to pay for notifying voters if the issue ever makes it onto the ballot. That sends it to the House budget subcommittee, where opponents will probably try to kill it. That's what happened to Rep. Brian Kelsey's anti-income tax resolution last week.
: Despite what Pith
was told by a trusted source, SJR127 is headed to the Calendar and Rules Committee. Unlike Kelsey's resolution, this one doesn't carry a fiscal note. The legal notice would be published only online.
Update II: Here's a better explanation
from Channel 4.
Update III: SJR127 still might wind up
in the Black Hole, but apparently it won't disappear there.
Here's this morning's speech from Favors, a registered nurse:
It disturbs me that we've spent this much energy on something that you cannot prevent. If you overturn Roe v. Wade tomorrow, it will not stop abortions. If we amend our constitution, it will not stop abortions. They are going to occur. I've been in health care 40 years. I was in health care before Roe v. Wade was enacted. I was there when the women came in DOA, dead on arrival, or hemorrhaging.
This is a wedge issue. Those of you who have come from all over the state. I commend you for being passionate about something that you believe in. However, I urge you to look askance at those who use this as a political ploy because that is what has happened. We cannot stop abortions. We have the Ten Commandments, and one of them says thou shalt not kill. But we have prisons full of people who have killed. Are we going to enact this change in our constitution and then have prisons for women that we find out had an abortion and schools for the children that they already have? Let's not make a mockery of this issue. ...
We should be using our energy, our time and our talents to try to prevent the need for abortions. We ought to have health care coverage for everyone. How do you think women feel when they find themselves pregnant and are going to have their utilities cut off the next day? How do you think they feel? How do you think they feel when they already don't have health care coverage for their children? I ask you please, do not use this as a political issue. This is an issue that deserves better than this from the citizens of Tennessee.