Tenn. Democrats mark 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision in a ‘forced-birth’ state

Democrats say they are committed ‘as long as it takes’ to restore access to safe, legal reproductive care

Tennessee Senate Democrats
3 min readJan 20, 2023

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NASHVILLE — Tennessee Democratic lawmakers on Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision (Jan. 22, 1973)—the landmark case that guaranteed a private right to an abortion in America.

In a state where Republican politicians have now banned all abortion procedures, even in cases of rape, incest and to protect the health of the mother, Democrats resolved to restore access to safe and legal reproductive care.

Watch their full remarks:

Sen. London Lamar, D-Memphis, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus:
“Under Republican control, Tennessee is a forced birth state. They are forcing women to give birth in state where we are not doing a good job of taking care of the children we already have. Our state is not safe for many children…

“What would be the 50th Anniversary of Roe is a reminder that Tennessee Democrats, are working to build a future where all Tennesseans have access to safe and legal reproductive care. If the state wants to discourage women from accessing abortion services, do a better job of giving women the tools and resources to have a healthy pregnancy and raise children free of harm and poverty.”

Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus:
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a state where women and families are suffering from the most restrictive, force-birth bill in the entire country. The law that exists today in Tennessee is not only harmful to women, but it’s harmful and adversely impacts every Tennessee family.”

Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, Senate Democratic Leader:
“For nearly five decades, Roe v. Wade ensured that every person had a right to control their own reproductive care. But now in Tennessee, Republicans have successfully turned back the clock and installed one of the harshest abortion bans in the nation, putting access to care out of reach for millions of women and exacerbating health care inequities for communities of color.

“This government mandate is clear overreach. It’s women who should get to decide what happens to their own bodies — plain and simple. Not the governor. Not the legislature.

“Marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Democrats in Tennessee are committed to restoring a woman’s freedom to make her own health care decisions — as long as it takes.”

Sen. Charlane Oliver, D-Nashville:
“This is a bad choice that our state is engaging in to force women to have babies… This is cruel. It’s authoritarian to tell women what to do with their bodies from people who have never birthed a baby.

“Let’s do the real people’s business and make sure that every woman in this state who wants to have a baby has choices and options available to them—healthcare, paid family leave, gender equity in the workplace.”

Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville:
“The consequences of electing ideological partisans in our state will be felt for generations to come. Tennesseans have made it very clear through polls, over and over again, that they support women’s reproductive rights.”

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Tennessee Senate Democrats

Fighting for everyday people in the Tennessee General Assembly