HEADLINE: Amendment One Passes; A Majority of Tennessee Voters Found to be Illiterate

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. – Amendment One, Article I, Tennessee Constitution

Rant Begin.

If the headline didn’t catch your attention, then I am unsure as to why you are even reading this article. If you voted “yes” on Amendment One, then I am unsure as to if you can even read. If that doesn’t already piss you off, keep attempting to navigate this narrative. I’m sure it will just be the beginning.

I am Republican. There… I said it. Happy now? However, I am not a Republican in the sense that I believe abortion is wrong and gay rights should be shunned. That’s just ignorant. We live in the 21st century people – get over yourself. However, my issue with Amendment One has nothing to do with abortion rights. In fact, if you read the amendment then you would find that the amendment had nothing to do with abortion rights at all. “What? What do you mean, Nikki? It has everything to do with abortion – it says so directly in the body of the amendment.” I’m telling you – Nothing. To. Do. With. Abortion. Everything. To. Do. With. Government. Control. So, congrats if you find yourself a Republican (or Democrat) voting for this because you believed abortion was the main concern and that abortion is wrong in all circumstances. In the words of the Arrow – “You have failed this city (err… state).” Let’s get to the bottom of what 53% of you voted to be an Amendment to our Tennessee Constitution.

Well, That Was Awkward…

First and foremost, I am not here to give you a background on Amendment One. You should have already read (or attempted to read) the amendment and codified the amendment’s meaning. I’m here to tell you why 53% of voters were wrong. Now, just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean that I do not still like you. It just means you might piss me off in a conversation if you ever bring up the fact that you voted “yes” on this amendment. Here we go.

Help! I Can’t Get The Government Out of My Vagina!

Read my heading again – and say thanks to my mother (who is also a Republican) for helping me with it. Now, let’s move forward with the medical changes that will occur with Amendment One’s passing. A scenario might make this narrative a little more intimate.

You are pregnant. You go to your trusted doctor for a check-up, and your doctor tells you that if you continue your pregnancy there is a 100% chance that you or your child will die during childbirth. Without Amendment One, you, your family and your doctor would have complete control over what happens from here on out – whether that be a termination of the pregnancy or not. With Amendment One, however, these personal, private medical decisions are now subject to government control. You have no say as to what occurs. If the government passes a law that is contrary to the health or life of the woman then so be it.

That scenario doesn’t bother you? How about this one:

You pull into your apartment complex after working the late shift at a grocery store. You have to park a few buildings down, as there is not enough parking near your building. As you begin walking toward your building, and unbeknownst to you, a man approaches you from behind.  That person grabs your arm, throws you to the ground, and covers your mouth to avoid screaming. In the process of this violent attack, you are raped. You are scared and do not inform anyone of the rape (note: if anyone comments with “Well, she could have told someone” you are extremely ignorant). You become pregnant and go to your local physician. After informing your physician that you wish to terminate the pregnancy, you and your physician discuss termination procedures. With Amendment One, however, these personal, private medical decisions are now subject to government control. You have no say as to what occurs. If the government passes a law prohibiting a woman who has been raped from terminating a pregnancy then you must carry that pregnancy to term.

After re-reading the above section, I am crying. Reread the language of Amendment One. You (if you are apart of the 53%) just handed over ALL control to the government. Exceptions for health and welfare of the woman, incest, and rape are not covered in this amendment – they are fair game for the legislators to twist and turn. I do not see how the voters in Tennessee could allow this Amendment to pass where a woman’s rights are so freely handed over to the government for control. If you voted “yes” then you believe there should be no exceptions for abortion whatsoever – and for that I am appalled at your judgment. Medical concerns, however, are not the only issue with Amendment One. Let’s move on.

Oh, You Thought You Deserved Privacy? That Doesn’t Exist Anymore.

Notwithstanding medical records, privacy is at issue with Amendment One. The Tennessee Supreme Court previously ruled that certain abortion restrictions violated privacy rights under the Tennessee Constitution. These restrictions hindered the ability of a woman to have a safe and legal abortion. Most Amendment One supporters pushed the notion that Tennessee law does not regulate abortion procedures due to the Tennessee Supreme Court’s above ruling. However, that is not the case. Under Tennessee law, abortions are already highly regulated where it counts. Examples of such regulations include the following: (1) Mandatory reporting guidelines to the Tennessee Dept. of Health; (2) Parental consent for minors; (3) Requirements for physicians performing abortions to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals; (4) Patients have to sign a consent form prior to the procedure; (5) Abortion clinics must post conspicuous signs with specific language stating it is against the law to coerce someone into having an abortion; (6) No physician or hospital has to perform an abortion; (7) Medicare will not pay for abortions, and the state will not fund them (unless the pregnancy resulted from rape, incest, or the health and welfare of the mother is at stake).

Amendment One allows regulation of the following areas: (1) Mandatory waiting period to give the woman “time to think” about the procedure; (2) Requirement that doctors give women specifically worded information about abortions and fetal development – not crafted by the doctors themselves, but crafted by lawmakers; (3) A ban on abortions past a certain fetal stage of development; (4) Stricter standards of ambulatory surgical centers; (5) End to exceptions as mentioned previously. A few of these changes give me cause for concern – especially number 2. Allowing the legislators to craft their own legalese for use in medical facilities that is not recommended by doctors or medical staff seems to be a bit of an overreach.  Have you read Obamacare? Probably not. Well, go read that (and the proposed regulations), and then let me know if you want legislators to craft legislation without medical review.

In short, Amendment One strips the private, personal medical discussions you have between you and your doctor. It also allows the government (not your doctor) to control your decisions regarding those medical decisions. Say goodbye to physician-patient privilege and hello to the physician-patient-government triangle of despair.

Why You Should Have Voted “No” On Amendment One..Even If You Are Pro-Life

Amendment One hands our private decisions to lawmakers and allows these lawmakers to interpret and define laws on our behalf. This law does not have to stop at abortions – you can apply it to anything considered “private.” I’m not sure that passing laws such as the one related to Amendment One would really make abortions safer. It seems that the legislators just want to make it harder for women to gain access to abortions which is control in and of itself. Control over waiting times – which limit the access of abortions to those that need to take off of work or travel far distances. Control over documents provided for consent in waiting rooms – which limit doctor-patient confidentiality and the doctor’s ability to provide truthful information about the procedure to a patient. Control over women’s rights – it is a woman’s choice as to what happens with her body, not a legislator’s poorly crafted language.

This legislation was pretty well-crafted, in that it was extremely deceptive to both the Republican and Democratic parties. The law was something that allowed for government oversight (which Democrats love and Republicans loathe) for an issue that is a hot-button social topic of regulating abortion (which Republicans love and Democrats loathe). I’m not shocked that the vote turned out the way it did – I am more shocked that my fellow Republicans (and even some Democrats) could not read more deeply into this law. It is an overreach of government and allows the government to hold the power over regulating our private decisions. Not just our private decisions, but a woman’s private decisions. As a woman,this is what shocks me the most.

Who decides what is best for a woman’s health? The woman herself? The woman’s doctor? Not according to Amendment One. According to Amendment One, the Tennessee government is the best at deciding a woman’s reproductive care. Legislators need not consult physicians or medical personnel in coming to a decision on changes to the abortion law. So, next time you have a personal, private medical question don’t bother asking your doctor. All of that medical school business was for nothing.  I recommend that you call your friendly neighborhood legislator the next time you need a personal, private medical question answered. I’m sure that with the vast knowledge Amendment One supporters believe our legislators have on the issue of abortion, that Tennessee legislator will have an answer to your medical question no matter the concern. If you think I am crazy, then you should have voted “no” on Amendment One. If you think that’s a great idea, well then you are this country’s problem.

Rant over. 

The Second Amendment – Gun Rights vs. Gun Control: Good Luck With That

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I briefly spoke of the Second Amendment in my last article while simultaneously criticizing the writer of another article for an oversight error in numbering the Amendments.  I do, however, want to touch on the subject of the Second Amendment because it is a hot-button issue around both campaign and election season.  The language (above in bold) is kept simple by our forefathers so as to not construe the message of an individual’s rights.

Brief History of the Second Amendment

I don’t want to spend too much time on this area (considering it is plastered on the internet for you to find elsewhere), but I do want to look at the Second Amendment to the extent that our forefathers cover it in the Constitution and other documents.  It is important to remember that the Constitution was not the only document in history that spoke of the Second Amendment’s contents.  Each forefather had a specific reason for placing this in the Constitution, and that reason was exemplified in other documents during that time.  For example, The Federalist Papers by James Madison spoke of “the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.” Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, The Federalist Papers 299 (Arlington House ed. n.d.).  As an additional example (just to show merit), Patrick Henry argued during the Virginia ratifying convention that “the great object is, that every man be armed…. Everyone who is able may have a gun.” 3 Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 386 (1836).  This (along with other framers’ thoughts not mentioned herein) shows that the framers of the Constitution meant to protect an individual’s rights to bear arms.

Gun Rights: No Government Should Take Away MY Guns

After reading the framers’ intentions, it is easier to transition into the argument to protect American citizens’ right to bear arms. The Second Amendment obviously covers the issue on gun rights, but what other arguments are being used as a catalyst to propel gun rights to the forefront of a political debate? Here is a list of those rights, and why it might be a reason to entertain the discussion.

(1) Criminals will find a way to obtain guns through illegal measures (like they already do today).  In my humble opinion, this is a valid point. What will stop the criminals from bypassing legislation put into place and finding (through No. 5 below) these guns on their own? Criminals already break the law by committing crimes, so what is one extra notch on their gun-toting belt?

(2) Victim gun possession will deter criminals from committing their crime. If you don’t believe this argument, you haven’t read the story of Jan Cooper of Anaheim, California – the gun-wielding grandma that shot at an intruder to protect herself and her wheelchair-bound, WWII veteran husband from potentially inflicted harm.  Here is the article if you don’t believe me (also covered on NBC and CBS if you have something against Fox News): http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/06/12/grandma-72-shoots-at-intruder-misses-in-calif/. This is one of my favorite arguments for gun rights.  There are numerous stories out there like Jan Cooper’s, and I am not sure the ending would quite be the same if Jan did not have her firearm in hand.

(3) Police are often too busy to protect citizens from (all) crimes committed. I’m going to add another mitigating factor – police officers are too damn lazy to answer all calls for crimes committed. Please see the above link re: Mrs. Cooper if you don’t believe it.  If the police do not get there in time, the police are not held responsible for the crime committed. Protect yourself.

(4) Ban my guns? You are a socialist or totalitarian. This seems to be the most used line by the Republicans (or those supporting gun rights) against the Obama administration’s legislation on gun control.  By restricting a right professed in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, anyone that would dare take away one of those rights either must be a socialist, a tyrannical leader, or an idiot. Taking away an Amendment requires another Amendment to rectify that situation (e.g., Prohibition and the 18th/21st Amendments).  As that is a whole other argument, I will leave our congressional leaders with four words: Good luck with that.

(5) Banning guns will create a “black market” excursion for these items (i.e., more organized crime; “War on Guns”). As I stated in No. 1 above, criminals will find other means to being criminals.  Just because a criminal cannot find or purchase a gun on the free market does not mean that the same criminal cannot turn around and purchase that gun from an underground, or “black,” market. This black market would lead to additional problems for the government (which is dealing with figuring out what ObamaCare is) and police officers (who already don’t have time to answer your calls about an intruder).  Again, four words: Good luck with that.

Gun Control: Eh… Some Regulation MIGHT Work Today

Now that I have completely blown your mind about gun rights, let’s look at the five opposite arguments for gun control.  Here is the list as to why you (and our government) should entertain the discussion for gun control.

(1) Most violent crimes are committed with guns. Take away the gun, take away the criminal.  This is a valid argument for those entertaining the thought of gun control.  If there are no more guns in this world, then there will be no more criminals.  A new utopia.

(2) Victims holding guns may be in more danger than before as the criminal could kill the victim in self-defense. I’m honestly not sure how I can defend this ill-worded argument, but I will try because I have to remain neutral for now. Scratch that… I can’t.  That’s just stupidity. But if you have an opinion on why this is a valid point, leave me a comment below.

(3) Crimes that were once less dangerous can now be more dangerous with the addition of a gun.  This argument is geared toward drug crimes. A person selling drugs is more than likely using a gun to protect himself or herself from harm in the event that the drug deal “goes bad.” The drug crime itself is a less dangerous crime.  If the drug crime goes bad and the gun is used it is a more dangerous crime.  Reducing or eliminating the gun by gun control laws will in turn keep the drug crime just that – a lesser crime. This could also correlate with No. 1 above of the gun control arguments.

(4) Suicide and crimes of passion are easier to commit with a gun on hand.  This is true. Both suicide and crimes of passion are committed in the “heat of the moment.” It seems that eliminating the gun would reduce the amount of crimes of this nature.  It is important to keep in mind though that most women attempt suicide by overdose or cutting of wrists, which would not eliminate the amount of suicides for women at all.  This is more geared toward the number of men that commit suicide by lethal weapon (which is extremely higher than women). If you want the statistics on this, visit The Community Counseling Service’s page at http://www.hsccs.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=13737.

(5) Insane people, children who have been bullied, or other disgruntled people could use guns for the wrong reason. This argument stems from the number of mall shootings, school shootings, work shootings, and every other possible shooting of a nature in which the person was angry or upset.  Let’s take school shootings since it appears to be the most recent.  From Colorado to Connecticut, these shootings are stemming from the fact that somehow children and teenagers are getting their hands on firearms. A link to most of these situations is not the fact that the children had guns, but that these children and teenagers were suffering from psychological problems before reaching for the gun. I’m not saying that bullying or being treated unfairly is right. What I am saying, however, is that these children should stop and reach out for help before reaching for the gun. Most children and teenagers do not know there is an outlet for help at all.  If you or someone you know has been bullied and you are thinking there is no other way out, please go to http://www.stopbullying.gov for more information or to get help.  Either way, I could see how this argument would be a major focal point of the Obama administration during a time such as this.

My Thoughts on Gun Rights vs. Gun Control: My Guns ARE My Right

After going through the arguments for and against gun control, I am happily content in stating that guns are my right and my right is found under the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights.  Gun control is a nasty subject – as it is an “all or nothing” analysis.  I do not like a government that takes away the rights of the citizens without so much as a blink of an eye.  Our forefathers would be ashamed.

If the guns are not necessary, take away Obama’s guns that are protecting him. Oh… that isn’t going to happen? Some criminals might still get to him with their illegal guns? Then there is no need for me to remain unarmed if the President refuses to disarm his Secret Service.  Is my life not as important as the President’s? Also, look at what happened in Chicago. Chicago has one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation and still winds up with not one but four of the “Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods.”

Our government, however, continues to believe that Chicago-like gun control laws are the answer to the gun problems we have in our country today.

Four words: Good luck with that.