Tennessee Takes the Lead to Build a Pro-Life Culture
In early February, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee used his State of the State address to the Tennessee legislature to announce a new initiative: pledging $100 million to support pregnancy resource centers in Tennessee. Even more, he is proposing to amend the state’s Medicaid program to expand eligibility for pregnant women and parents and to cover the cost of baby supplies. He is also proposing to increase paid parental leave periods for state employees.
Tennessee is one of the few states that banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs overturned Roe v. Wade. The Dobbs decision held that the U.S. Constitution is silent on the issue of abortion – a holding which removed the issue of abortion from federal courts and returned them to the individual state legislatures, where it rightfully belongs. Important public policy questions should be decided by legislative processes, where voters can ensure that their state governments are responsive to their values and priorities.
Governor Lee’s proposals have yet to become law in Tennessee, but it is expected that both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly will respond favorably to these initiatives.
Pregnancy Resource Centers Provide Needed Services
Since the Dobbs decision was leaked in May of 2022, numerous pregnancy resource centers have been vandalized and even destroyed by pro-abortion activists. These terrorist activities give the lie that these activists believe in any “choice” besides abortion. After all, if you support a woman’s right to choose, you would not begrudge a woman the opportunity to visit a clinic that exists solely to support her when that choice is life.
Pregnancy resource centers provide counseling, support, and education to young women and men who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, ensuring they understand all of the options available to them outside of abortion. These centers have been invaluable in helping young mothers, providing some necessary medical services as well as practical help in the form of baby supplies and clothing.
Yet this utterly benign mission is too much for pro-abortion activists to stomach. Some elected officials have even sought to abolish pregnancy centers, alleging that they “deceive” young women by “pretending” to be abortion clinics. The fact is, most of these clinics state, right up front, that they do not provide or refer women for abortions. Women who do not want the services of these clinics are perfectly free to go elsewhere.
Governor Lee’s Proposals Reflect Pro-Life Values
Pro-abortion advocates have always been quick to accuse pro-life proponents of not caring about women by “forcing” them to have babies they do not want and then abandoning them. But the reality is that the pro-life movement’s efforts have always gone far beyond seeking the overturn of Roe. Pro-life groups and individuals have funded, supported, and volunteered at numerous organizations founded to help mothers, including many pregnancy resource centers. In Tennessee alone, there are over 50 pregnancy resource centers – reaffirming Tennessee’s reputation as, truly, the Volunteer State.
Again, it is ironic that the people who suddenly want to get rid of these facilities are shocked to discover that pregnancy resource clinics outnumber abortion centers in this country. Had they been interested at all in the efforts and resources that pro-life people have contributed to helping young women with unplanned pregnancies, they would have known about these centers, many of which have existed for decades. Of course, this shock is perhaps understandable: pro-life efforts receive almost no attention in mainstream media outlets and certainly no positive media.
Providing additional funds for pregnancy resource centers and expanding the ability of expectant parents to obtain help and assistance is a positive step. Governor Lee’s initiatives round out the efforts that pro-life proponents have always sought: supporting pregnant women and promoting strong families. Too many laws today serve to destroy the family and what the family represents: the building block of a healthy, functioning society. And while small-government proponents might not be pleased with the idea of expanding government services or expenditures into this area, at least they can be gratified that, for a change, government funds will be used to support families rather than break them apart.
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My name is Dr. William Lile. I am a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, and I have spent my career helping women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. I am never less than awed at the miracle of life with each new baby I have helped deliver, and I believe that all babies deserve a chance at life.
My mission is to spread the pro-life message by sharing the medical breakthroughs that enable us to treat babies in the womb. When we treat the preborn as patients, we implicitly acknowledge that they are persons entitled to rights. To support my ministry or receive my newsletter, please contact ProLife Doc today!