Abortion battle over Amendment 1 draws big money in TN
From The Tennessean-
A fight over the future of abortion in Tennessee is moving into high gear as both sides aim for multimillion-dollar fundraising goals for what is shaping up to be the costliest voter referendum battle in the state’s history.
Abortion rights advocates have raised more than $360,000 in the past six months toward the defeat of Amendment 1, a ballot measure that would remove abortion protections from the state’s constitution.
Abortion foes, who began fundraising last fall, have raised more than $518,000, according to disclosure forms filed with the state last week.
Both campaigns have set aggressive fundraising goals, with “Yes on 1” campaign seeking $2.1 million, while the “Vote No on One” has set a goal of roughly $4 million.
The referendum, if passed, would add this language: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires funding of an abortion.” A no vote would leave Tennessee’s constitution unchanged.
The “Yes” campaign raised the lion’s share of its funds — about $250,000 — from an event headlined by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey last fall, but has since collected dozens of contributions from Protestant and Catholic churches, state right-to-life groups and individual donors.
The “No” campaign has received the majority of its funds from Planned Parenthood affiliates in and out of Tennessee, including a $175,000 contribution from Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee, a $50,000 contribution from Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest in Seattle and $35,000 from the American Civil Liberties Unionin New York — as well as a dozen individual contributions ranging from $200 to $1,000.
“What their disclosure proves is that abortion interests in San Francisco, New York and Massachusetts believe they know better what Tennessee laws should be,” said Brian Harris, a coordinator with Yes on 1 and president of Tennessee Right to Life. “We feel confident that Tennesseans are quite capable of deciding for ourselves the meaning and interpretation of our state Constitution. … And we encourage Tennesseans to continue stepping forward to contribute their time, talent and treasure toward passage of Amendment 1.”
Abortion rights advocates say Tennessee’s election is attracting more national attention as abortion rights have eroded across the South.
“We know from conversations we’ve had with national donors and other Planned Parenthood affiliates that people are very concerned about what’s happening in the South, where we have seen really draconian laws passed in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama,” said Jeff Teague, a director of the Vote No on One campaign and president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. “We do know when people do find out about it, they’re very, very concerned about it. They don’t like it at all.”
Reach Anita Wadhwani at 615-259-8092 or on Twitter @AnitaWadhwani.
Tennessee voters will decide three other ballot measures in November that would amend the Tennessee Constitution. They are:
Vote Yes on 2: $403,501
Vote No on 2: $0
The amendment would insert constitutional language that preserves the current system used to select appellate court judges: initial appointment by the governor, followed later by a statewide retention election at the end of a first term on the bench. The new language would also add an additional step: confirmation by the state legislature, which is not currently being done.
The amendment says that the legislature shall not levy, authorize or otherwise permit any state or local tax upon payroll or earned personal income. Tennessee has no income tax.
Citizens for Fiscal Sanity: $1,000.
Yes on 3 PAC: No disclosure forms filed
The amendment would allow veterans’ groups to hold charitable gaming events. The amendment has no registered referendum group, and no campaign disclosure forms have been filed.
Source: Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance