A rally scheduled for the opening day of the legislative session aims to put Tennessee lawmakers on notice that legislation concerning women's rights will be closely scrutinized in the new year.
A coalition of women's advocacy groups has called for the demonstration in the wake of the passage of Amendment 1, which allows lawmakers to propose new regulations on abortions.
"Women's fundamental rights are in greater jeopardy this legislative session than any other time in recent history," the Nashville-based Advocates for Women's And Kids' Equality said in a statement promoting the rally.
Lawmakers have proposed several abortion regulations. The first would require doctors to perform an ultrasound before an abortion. Others in discussion include a mandatory waiting period, new inspection requirements on abortion clinics and mandatory counseling known as "informed consent" before the procedure.
Amendment 1, meanwhile, is facing a legal challenge over how ballot measure votes were counted.
Several hundred are expected to gather at 10 a.m. Jan. 13 at Tennessee Tower Plaza at 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
Graduate students at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville started the idea and have gained the backing of former Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson, who also had contemplated a run as chairwoman of the Tennessee Democratic Party.
"I thought it was important to let our legislators know that we're going to be watching," Johnson said. "We want to see pro-women legislation."
An event page on Facebook already has 1,400 attendees listed, but Johnson said the turnout is tough to predict.
Carpools are forming in cities across the state. The rally will include speakers followed at noon by lunch-and-learn sessions to teach attendees about legislative advocacy.
Reach Tony Gonzalez at 615-259-8089 and on Twitter @tgonzalez.