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Editor's notebook: Gushy Mother's Day posts from Tennessee lawmakers don't reflect reality • Tennessee Lookout

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Editor's notebook: Gushy Mother's Day posts from Tennessee lawmakers don't reflect reality • Tennessee Lookout


Perhaps no American holiday is more sacrosanct than Mother’s Day, a fest that provides politicians an occasion on which to shower platitudes about the noble calling of motherhood. 

Tennessee lawmakers flooded social media Sunday posing with their mothers — Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, a Franklin Republican, posted a photo on X of him as a teen dancing with his mom, both beaming for the camera — and lauding their wives for being good mothers, as House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison did

I have no doubt that the men of Tennessee’s government love their mothers. Who doesn’t? Even Adolf Hitler was known to have a mutually adoring relationship with his. 

But the fulsome praise is a rich irony coming from Republican lawmakers who continually pass measures to make life harder for the state’s women and the children they bear.

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The fondness vocalized by predominantly male legislators is prescient, given there’s the likelihood that Tennessee could experience a new baby boom in the next few years, as the 2023 enactment of the state’s ban on virtually all abortions: it’s a move that all but guarantees women with unwanted pregnancies will either be forced to leave the state in search of abortion care or bear a child they may not have the capability to properly care for. 

And by ‘women,’ I include teen and pre-teen girls who become pregnant. A new law, sponsored by Rep. Jason Zachary, prohibits anyone but parents from taking pregnant girls out of the state for abortions, cutting grandparents and other relatives out of the equation.

Let’s assume you are a joyous pregnant mom, delighted with the thought of having a child. You better hope you have a textbook perfect pregnancy, because if your fetus has abnormalities that threaten your own life, the state’s abortion ban has put physicians in a tough place.

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Meanwhile, even a medication abortion could become harder to come by, as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the merits of mifepristone, part of a two-drug regimen approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for early-term abortions. 

But let’s assume you are a joyous pregnant mom, delighted with the thought of having a child. You better hope your pregnancy is textbook, because God forbid your fetus has abnormalities that will cause your baby to die upon or shortly after birth, or worse still, has a condition that threatens your own life. 

Tennessee law provides only the narrowest of exceptions to the abortion ban for the life of the mother, which means physicians face the dilemma of deciding just how close a pregnant woman is to dying, and weigh the odds against being arrested and charged criminally for performing what could be deemed by a layman a medically unnecessary procedure. 

That, of course, assumes you can find an OBGYN to treat you. A 2023 report found that more than half of Tennessee’s rural hospitals no longer deliver babies, creating “maternity care deserts” across the state. In 2019, the March of Dimes reported Tennessee ranked 44th in the nation for access to prenatal care before the third trimester, along with higher than average rates of preterm births. 

Report: More than half of all rural Tennessee hospitals no longer deliver babies

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As if that weren’t bad enough, Jamie McGee reported for the Lookout in June 2023 that states with abortion bans like Tennessee’s experienced a 10.5% decrease in applications for OBGYN residencies. 

The reason? Residents in obstetrics and gynecology perform an abortion as part of training; Tennessee’s criminal penalties are making medical students leery of practicing here. 

“Everyone is worried about it,” Tennessee Medical Association CEO Russ Miller said at the time. “It’s definitely something all of us are keeping an eye on.” 

Consider a different scenario: Let’s say a couple desperately wants to have children but has fertility problems. An Alabama Supreme Court ruling that classifies eggs fertilized through in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment similarly to children could have ramifications in Tennessee, as House members voted down a bill that would have made clear that the state’s abortion ban does not endanger fertility treatments or access to contraceptive care.  

Sorry to be Debbie Downer. Like many moms, you may have had a healthy baby that was wanted and planned for: congratulations! Do you have a good job with a stable income? You should make sure of that, because relying on the Tennessee government for any kind of aid is a dicey proposition. 

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Tennessee’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a key anti-poverty program, is sitting on a whopping $717 million financial surplus rather than distributing the funds to the families for whom they are intended. If you are availing yourself of SNAP benefits, formerly called food stamps, be aware there have been habitual delays in distribution of those funds. 

Just after the Tennessee Department of Human Services introduced a new computer management system in June, more than 73,000 Tennesseans — most of whom are children — enrolled in the SNAP program lost access to food benefits. 

Tennessee food aid delays could continue for two more months, DHS Commissioner tells lawmakers

Thank God for public schools, where needy students can get a free lunch — or not. A measure introduced in Tennessee’s House and Senate by Rep. Kevin Raper of Cleveland and Sen. J. Adam Lowe of Calhoun, both Republicans, that would have provided free breakfasts and lunches to kids qualifying under the National School Lunch Act and Child Nutrition Act of 1966 failed in the House K-12 Subcommittee of Education Administration. 

Maybe it’s just as well it failed so nobody counts on free meals. If Gov. Bill Lee has more success next legislative session than in this one with his bid to create universal school vouchers, funds will stream out of public education to private schools. 

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Cheer up, moms! Tennessee’s lawmakers appreciate you! That’s what they said on social media, after all. And as for those flowers you got? Well, you can’t eat them and they won’t help provide health care, but at least they’ll give you something pretty to look at while you figure out how to move to a state with more supportive policies.

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Tennessee Baseball Set to Host Regional, Likely to Host Super Regional with Top Seed

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Tennessee Baseball Set to Host Regional, Likely to Host Super Regional with Top Seed


The Tennessee Volunteers are officially set to host a NCAA Regional and with the official rankings set to be released Monday, they are in line for the Top Overall seed.

The Tennessee Volunteers are officially set to host a NCAA Regional. This news comes as a forgone conclusion seemingly following a season in which they finished (50-11) and (22-8) in the sport’s toughest conference. Now, after winning the SEC tournament in Hoover, the Volunteers prepare Lindsey Nelson Stadium to host yet another Regional.

The Volunteers will invetibaly be in line to host a Super Regional presuming they win the Regional. The offical full 64-team rankings will be announcement Monday afternoon at Noon on ESPN2. The Volunteers RPI is currently ranked No. 1 overall in the country.

According to Draftkings, the Volunteers are the favorite at +500, slightly ahead of Texas A&M at +600. For good reason as well, they have (5) bats with over (17) HRs, led by Christian Moore with (28). Though it’s the pitching staff that has the Volunteers viewed as a favorite, they are currently 4th in the country in ERA.

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RECAP of SEC Championship vs LSU
The Volunteers would find themselves battling back early in Sunday’s championship matchup against LSU. Tiger’s first baseman Jared Jones hit a solo shot home run to put the Tigers up 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the first. Despite an early deficit, the Vols would respond quickly in the third inning as Billy Amick would get the Vols on top with a three-run home run deep over the left field wall, to put the Vols up 3-1 entering the bottom of the third.

Left-hander Dylan Loy dominated the LSU lineup after coming in for starting pitcher AJ Russell. Loy threw for 4.2 scoreless innings with five strikeouts to help maintain the Vols 3-1 lead heading into the seventh inning. Center fielder Hunter Ensley would add insurance to the Volunteer’s lead in the top of the seventh inning with a RBI single up the middle, to extend the Vols lead to 4-1.

The Volunteer bullpen would battle turbulence in the ninth inning after swapping in Aaron Combs with a runner on second with one out in the ninth inning. Combs would let up a ground rule double hit by Steven Milam, making the score 4-2. LSU would capitalize off their momentum, getting within one run of the Vols lead following a fielding error by third baseman Billy Amick, making the score 4-3. Despite a late rally for LSU, Aaron Combs would regain his composure, striking out his next two batters to seal a 4-3 championship victory for the Volunteers.

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You can follow us for future coverage by clicking “Follow” on the top right-hand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook @VolunteerCountry & follow us on Twitter at @VCountryFN.

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Tennessee downs LSU to win fifth SEC Tournament in program history

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Tennessee downs LSU to win fifth SEC Tournament in program history


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Tennessee held off a ninth inning LSU rally to defeat the Tigers 4–3 on Sunday and win the programs fifth SEC baseball tournament championship.

Pigeon Forge native Dylan Loy threw a career high 4.2 innings, striking out five LSU batters in the win.

Trailing 1-0 in the third, Billy Amick launched a three run home run to give Tennessee a 3-1 lead. An RBI single from Hunter Ensley provided the fourth and final Tennessee run of the game.

Aaron Combs earned the save, stranding the potential tying run on base with a strikeout of the potential winning run to close the ballgame.

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The tournament championship is Tennessee’s second in three seasons.

The Vols were named one of 16 regional host sites for this season’s NCAA baseball tournament. The 64 team field will be revealed tomorrow at noon ET on ESPN2.



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Live Updates: LSU Baseball vs. Tennessee (SEC Championship Game)

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Live Updates: LSU Baseball vs. Tennessee (SEC Championship Game)


Jay Johnson and the LSU Tigers look to make SEC Tournament history on Sunday afternoon in Hoover with a showdown against the Tennessee Volunteers on the horizon.

It’ll be an anticipated matchup between the No. 1 seeded Volunteers dialed in against the No. 11 seeded Tigers, who’re clicking on all cylinders.

After four wins in five days, LSU looks to make history in the SEC Tournament Championship Game.

Here’s a look into both programs starting lineups, what Jay Johnson said ahead of the showdown and live updates from Sunday in Hoover:

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LSU’s Starting Lineup

Tennessee’s Starting Lineup

SS Michael Braswell

2B Christian Moore

3B Tommy White

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1B Blake Burke

1B Jared Jones

3B Billy Amick

LF Josh Pearson

LF Dylan Dreiling

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DH Hayden Travinski

CF Hunter Ensley

2B Steven Milam

RF Kavares Tears

CF Jake Brown

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SS Dean Curley

RF Ashton Larson

DH Cannon Peebles

C Alex Milazzo

C Cal Stark

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LHP Nate Ackenhausen

RHP AJ Russell

What Jay Johnson Said:

“We’re playing as well as we have all year, as well as anybody in the country. It was tough at the midway point of our league schedule, we were not in a good place. I don’t think there are five teams in the country that could accomplish what we just did on the back half of our schedule. I’m really excited, I want to keep playing baseball with this team. I’m really proud of our team based on their response to where we were earlier in the season. We’re playing a brand of baseball right now that is sustainable at the highest level.”

LIVE UPDATES:

[Make sure to refresh your browser for the latest information. Scroll down for the most recent updates each inning].

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Top First:

Nate Ackenhausen (LSU) pitching

Moore: Strikeout

Burke: Strikeout

Amick: Strikeout

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Score Update: LSU 0, Tennessee 0

Bottom First:

AJ Russell (Tennessee) pitching

Braswell: Groundout to shortstop

White: Fly out to left field

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Jones: Solo homer to left field (LSU 1, South Carolina 0)

Pearson: Popped up to shortstop

Score Update: LSU 1, South Carolina 0

Top Second:

Nate Ackenhausen (LSU) pitching

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Dreiling: Strikeout

Ensley: Double to center field

Tears: Strikeout

Curley:

Other LSU News:

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Jay Johnson’s Status for SEC Championship Game Revealed Following Ejection

The Recap: LSU Punches Ticket to SEC Title Game, Milam Propels the Tigers

Join the Community:

Follow Zack Nagy on Twitter: @znagy20 and LSU Country: @LSUCountry_FN for all coverage surrounding the LSU program.





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