This article was originally published by the Tennessee Star HERE.
Tennessee Pastors Network President Dale Walker released a letter at a press conference outside the Senate Chambers Monday afternoon signed by 162 pastors and faith leaders across Tennessee urging Governor Bill Lee and legislative leaders to speak up and support State Senator Mark Pody’s (R-Lebanon) “Rule 63” motion. Walker was joined by Pody, pro-Life Dr. Brent Boles, and Moms for Tennessee founder Cecelia DeSonia at the press conference.
The Rule 63 motion is expected to be heard Monday night. If it wins 17 Senate votes the Heartbeat Bill (SB 1236) would be permitted to go to the Senate floor for a full vote. Earlier in the day Pody told the Tennessee Star that he had only secured 8 firm votes for the measure.
Pody sought to have the legislation reheard in the Judiciary Committee in order to avoid bypassing the committee process and forcing a floor vote vote under Senate rules. However, Senate leadership has been unwilling to allow the bill to be brought back to life in the Judiciary Committee.
In the letter, Walker and his fellow pastors ask that Lee and Legislative leadership recognize that:
Leaders across Tennessee are faced with a clear choice to either support or not support unborn life with their vote on the Rule 63 motion. A vote against bringing this bill to the Senate for an up or down vote is a vote to kill it and is a vote FOR virtually unrestricted abortions to continue in Tennessee. A vote for the bill to proceed — and a vote FOR it in the Senate — is the ONLY actual pro-Life position.
Walker also notes, “These 162 Bible-believing pastors know that life begins at conception, and that each and every one of these precious children is a person, as opposed to the 150 ‘faith leaders’ who disgracefully signed a letter to Gov. Bill Lee declaring their support for abortion on demand.”
The Heartbeat bill has already passed in the full House by a significant margin but has been sent to “summer study” by the Senate Judiciary committee. A Tennessee Star/Triton poll indicates that Senators opposing the Heartbeat Bill may face consequences with Republican Primary voters. In fact, nearly two thirds are less likely to support a candidate who opposes the Heartbeat Bill.
Walker urged Pro-life activists to appear Monday night as the votes are cast on Pody’s Rule 63 motion. “Our presence — and prayers —may inspire some of the reluctant Senators to do the right thing and stand up for unborn Tennessee babies,” Walker pointed out.
Read the full letter here.