Tennessee’s Abortion Amendment Reveals Rural-Urban Divide

Here's a screenshot from elections.tn.gov showing Amendment 1 election results. The gold counties indicate a greater number of votes against the measure.

Here’s a screenshot of uncertified results from Tennessee’s official election returns site, elections.tn.gov. The gold counties indicate a greater number of votes against the measure than for it.

Amendment One passed by a relatively narrow margin of 53 to 47 percent statewide. But the broad results mask the wide gaps between Tennessee’s urban and rural voters.

In most rural and suburban counties, the abortion amendment passed easily. In Nashville, the no’s prevailed by two-to-one. (See county-by-county results here)

LaTonya Ellis of North Nashville voted no.

“Because I am a female and I think my body is my body,” Ellis said. “Not saying that I am for or against abortion, but I think I should have the choice to say what I want to have done with my body.”

Amendment 1 failed in Tennessee’s four major cities along with three rural West Tennessee counties where a few Democrats remain in office.

In many rural counties, the vote was two-to-one in favor of Amendment 1. Suburban counties were more evenly divided. One of the closest splits comes from Clarksville and Montgomery County, where 50.7 voted for the amendment giving legislators more ability to restrict abortions.

Rutherford County approved Amendment 1 with 56 percent voting yes.

David Ashworth voted alongside his wife in La Vergne, saying he’s not necessarily an anti-abortion crusader. He sees Amendment 1 as giving the state a way to match abortion restrictions in neighboring states.

“It gives our state the opportunity to be like everyone else,” Ashworth said. “So from our standpoint, we just feel like that’s important. We don’t want to be known as the abortion state.”

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