Tennessee state lawmakers wasted no time taking advantage of a new constitutional amendment, passed on Election Day, that allows the state legislature to pass laws restricting abortion rights.
A federal lawsuit claims election officials improperly counted ballots of those who voted in favor of Amendment 1 but abstained from casting a vote in the gubernatorial election.
Following the passage last week of Amendment 1, the Republican-dominated Tennessee legislature will move forward with anti-choice laws as soon as possible, a state GOP lawmaker said.
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.”
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who will likely become majority leader if he wins his re-election campaign next week and if the Republicans win the Senate, has promised his base that a 20-week abortion ban is a priority for him.
Shortly after early voting began in Tennessee, local media reported that some voters have received misleading information about Amendment 1 and that there have been cases of voting machine irregularities.
The emergency request comes after a lower court ruled the law could take effect November 1.
State lawmakers nationwide have passed legislation to restrict access to reproductive health care, but in New Mexico, attempts to restrict reproductive health care have gained little traction. However, reproductive rights advocates fear that the political landscape may soon change and threaten abortion access not just in the state, but throughout the region.
Staff members at the last remaining legal abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley have been repeatedly left without a job in the wake of flip-flopping court decisions.
The only remaining abortion clinic in the greater Cincinnati area, which serves an estimated 2.1 million people, was hit with a citation this month from the Ohio Department of Health for failing to have a written transfer agreement with a local private hospital.