Bishop Stika joined by Bishop Choby, Bishop Steib in urging Catholics to vote for state constitutional measure
Tennessee residents are being asked to vote yes on the measure, which states:
“Shall Article I of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:
Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”
Following his statement several weeks ago urging Diocese of Knoxville parishioners to support life and vote yes on Amendment 1, Bishop Richard F. Stika issued a second statement Sept. 23 re-emphasizing the importance of returning the constitution to a neutral position on abortion.
Bishop Stika said that while the Catholic Church will never identify itself with any political community or system, Catholics can and must speak in support of moral issues such as Amendment 1.
“Amendment 1 is neither a Republican nor Democrat issue, but a moral and life issue of greatest magnitude. Passing this amendment would neutralize the extreme interpretation taken by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000 in which they declared that our State Constitution guarantees the right to an abortion. A yes vote for this amendment is a vote to restore back to the voter the ‘life’ decisions that were taken away from us by the state court decision,” Bishop Stika stated.
“For this reason, I and my brother Bishops in Nashville [David R. Choby] and Memphis [J. Terry Steib, SVD] wholeheartedly ask for your support for ‘life’ by voting ‘Yes on One’ this November 4.”
Stacy Dunn, an East Tennessee director of Tennessee Right To Life and the East Tennessee coordinator for the Yes on 1 campaign, said momentum in support of Amendment 1 is building across the state.
“Tennessee is at a pivotal junction. In November, we will either restore our state as a place for life or we will find ourselves paying for abortions with tax dollars,” said Mrs. Dunn, who is a member of Holy Ghost Parish in Knoxville.
Mrs. Dunn said if the amendment fails, Tennessee will continue to be an abortion destination, and abortion clinics in Tennessee will continue to not be required to be licensed and inspected.
“It’s all up to Tennessee’s voters. Tennessee has always been a pro-life state and this is our chance to take action. It’s as easy as voting, but we need every pro-life voter to vote,” she said. “Amendment 1 will pass if pro-life people turn out to vote. But if they stay home and we allow this amendment to fail, our state will suffer for years to come. We’ve got to seize this opportunity to restore and protect life in Tennessee.”