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Amateur Hour at the Tennessee State Legislature

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Tim Hooker
I once thought about getting into the game, but not anymore.

I'm talking about the ultimate game-- politics.
It happened innocently enough. I interviewed a couple of local politicos a few years back and they were so amateurish that my knee-jerk reaction was, "Oh, come on."

And, now, my aghast is extended to my state legislature.

According to CBS News, Tennessee State Representative Stacy Campfield has introduced legislation that would require death certificates for aborted fetuses. And, it is arguably the worst idea since Mr. Hitler said to Mrs. Hitler, "I'm in the mood for love."

Mr. Campfield, a Republican who apparently doesn't have enough to do, hasn't bothered to work out the blatantly obvious. Before a person can have a death certificate, it is really helpful if they have a certificate of live birth, which aborted fetuses don't have. That's just common sense. Before you can die, you have to have lived. The only thing scarier than Mr. Campfield's line of logic (or lack thereof) is the possibility that he has thought about it, and is simply trying to push the envelope on the definition of life.

Campfield's proposed legislation also violates privacy rights. By having death certificates attached to abortions, the women who have abortions will become the subject of public record.

And, that makes it bad law. In our system of government, federal law trumps state law. And, federal HIPAA laws are pretty air-tight on what can and cannot be released publicly about an individual's medical records.

So, let's just cut to the chase. Campfield apparently wants to shame women into not having abortions. Granted, he has left himself a loophole in it, in case he gets someone pregnant. The legislation gives abortion providers 10 days to file the death certificate. So, if Mr. Campfield gets one of his staffers pregnant, he can ship her to an out-of-town abortion clinic, use a false name, pay cash, and leave the abortion provider with nothing to report.

But, the damage would still be done.

And, apparently, Rep. Stacey Campfield is really into hurting people.

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Tim Hooker is an English professor in Tennessee. He is the author of three books: "Rocket Man: A Rhapsody of Short Stories," "Duncan Hambeth: Furniture King of the South," and "Looking For A City." His politics are progressive liberal; his (more...)
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