Anne Donahue: Unlimited abortion not part of Vermont values

This commentary is by state Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield. She is vice chair of the House Health Care Committee and a spokesperson for Vermonters for Good Government.

The lead sponsor of the Prop 5/Article 22 reproductive liberty amendment in the Vermont House, Rep. Ann Pugh, said in a recent radio interview that the state constitution “is where we state our most fundamental beliefs and values.”

She is precisely right.

state of Vermont

Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield

That’s why Article 22 is not about what happens in Vermont today — whether there are, or are not, elective third trimester abortions occurring.

The fundamental question is, do our Vermont beliefs and values support an unlimited right to a third trimester abortion, up until the time of birth, and locking that right into our constitution?

Do our values and beliefs support turning over to Vermont’s courts unlimited authority for future decisions about the definition of “reproductive autonomy” — about what it does or does not cover?

Those are core values included in Article 22.

There is misinformation being perpetuated that Article 22 is intended to protect the standards of Roe v. Wade in Vermont. The fact that Roe has been overturned is being used to create fear that abortion rights under Roe v. Wade are in jeopardy in Vermont unless we vote for this constitutional amendment.

But the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in 1972 that the existing constitution prohibited broad abortion restrictions, and Vermont state law since 2019 protects access to all abortions in Vermont.

Furthermore, new federal law would supersede Vermont’s constitution, regardless.

Roe itself flatly rejected the argument that “the woman’s right is absolute and that she is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses.”

The panic across the nation about the Dobbs decision is about access to first trimester abortions, not late term ones.

Article 22 would go radically beyond Roe v. Wade by creating a constitutional right in Vermont to abort a viable, unborn child at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason the person carrying it chooses. In the future, if UVMMC decided to end the use of an ethics review panel for third term abortions, or new and less ethical providers came to Vermont to expand abortion access — as they surely would — the state could do nothing about it.

There are some 12,000 third trimester abortions across the country now, and according to the Guttmacher Institute, the majority are for social reasons, not medical ones.

Restrictions on third trimester abortion is consistent with broad, worldwide consensus. Almost every nation — including all European countries — limits abortion after 12 weeks and places major restrictions after 24 weeks.

Even California, often seen as the most liberal state on abortion, bans elective abortion after viability, which approximates the third trimester.

There has also been huge consternation that a 9-person Supreme Court has redefined reproductive rights.

But whenever constitutional language is ambiguous, as Article 22 is, it is the courts which must decide upon the meaning.

Article 22 never references abortion. It guarantees reproductive liberty to all individuals: men, women, and children.

Thus, under the vague wording of Article 22, Vermont’s 5-person Supreme Court would be the decision-maker over what “reproductive autonomy” means for all individuals in the future: when a man’s right to control his reproductive autonomy supersedes a woman’s; when a child could decide on their own to have a hysterectomy; whether the state could ever enact provider conscience protections; or whether new developments such as in experimental genetic engineering is included.

Vermonters, through their legislature, would be barred from intervening in any such decisions. That is the choice that would be made by voting for Article 22.

Are these all values that we believe in and want to enshrine in our constitution?

Placing definitions or future interpretations solely in the hands of five judges?

Barring any state regulation of abortion after viability — right up to the moment of birth?

For most Vermonters, probably not.

Images courtesy of Public domain and state of Vermont
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12 thoughts on “Anne Donahue: Unlimited abortion not part of Vermont values

  1. No progressive value is a Vermont value but we’ve allowed them to infiltrate
    every aspect of our government and are now mere serfs in our once proud
    independent state.. flatlanders ruin everything..

    • Don’t blame flatlanders. Vermonters have been indoctrinated. This has been going on for 40 years. Vermonters, themselves, are now wildly radical. Yes, we can blame the carpet bagger Communist Sanders, but Leahy….oh..the favorite son….has undermined Vermont and America for years.

  2. Representative Donahue can call her proposed alternative to Article 22 “The Ted Bundy ‘Pro-Life’ Bill.”

    It would be appropriate, as Bundy was born at the Elizabeth Lund Home in Burlington.

    She could have actors parading outside the statehouse, portraying the 36-64 women he killed, all of them of course (the actors) declaring, “We would have supported this if we’d lived.”

    • So, your solution to stop one serial killer is to kill all unborn babies? That is some really twisted thinking right there.

      • As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, NOBODY paid attention to what would be the dangers facing the real child Bundy. They just made sure he was born. As self-styled “pro-lifers” limit their efforts to ensuring somebody else has a baby, they are playing Russian roulette with the handgun pointed at somebody else’s temple.

        You yourself can prevent the prospect of at least one Ted Bundy or Elizabeth Wuoronin from happening by spending 18 years raising one child well. Have you?

        I am amazed at how few self-proclaimed “pro-lifers” do this (lower than the national rate for adoption, foster parenting, guardian ad litem volunteering, etc.) Nobody wonders why this is so. Probably a syndrome.

  3. So it’s going to be in your state constitution that “Vermonters can murder future Vermonters” ?
    Because that is what it literally IS.
    And that seems like a good idea?
    Are you not trying to pay people to move there?
    Perhaps not killing your future population would help grow the numbers, ya think?

    • See my reply to Dano.

      It looks as though self-proclaimed “pro-lifers” are doing this for themselves rather than for actual children.

  4. So you want to kill your offspring because it may interfere with your future plans, maybe you
    should have kept your pants on, or used your mind instead of pleasuring your woo-woo……..

    Don’t worry, one day you’ll meet your maker, and will really feel some pain and discomfort !!

    Vermont has no leadership, all just agenda followers bending for a hand full of fools, and from
    all the ads I see on tv promoting this nonsense, are gray haired dried up old hags, trying to sway
    the young, but don’t take the bait, you’ll have to live with this travesty not them.

  5. You do wonderful things, Anne, but sadly unlimited abortion IS part of Vermont values. Vermont doesn’t have many values anymore. The radical leftists like Sanders and Leahy seem to think that abortion on demand is fine. Even as the Child is born. Evil has taken over a beautiful state. So Sad.

    • No, Tamituna, the real Vermont values are caring for proto-human life until it becomes more or less fully human. Abandoned by the age of five– dumped in the wild, not left on a street corner– a child will not mature into a fully functional human. At increasingly older ages, it’s much more likely.

      Vermont women look a the whole picture, not projecting their fantasies on an embryo that might kill them (pre-eclampsia) or drive them into psychosis or worse. When they decide that there is little hope that they can provide a child a decent chance to become fully human, they are performing a double mercy– for the embryo/fetus and for themselves.

      Viewed from a religious perspective, they are sending a “pre-born child” directly to Heaven. You have a problem with that?

  6. Anne, thank you for your constant attention to this draconian amendment. I agree that it is unnecessary and will lead to numerous contentious situations if passed.

    What I do not understand is how the state can essentially imply that the murder of an infant at birth is not a “compelling state interest”. The language in this instrument of evil apparently implies that that the death of an infant at birth is NOT a compelling issue for the state.

    And how can a court interpret the intent ? Where will they get the information needed to make such a momentous decision regarding the definition of reproductive autonomy and who it will apply to ? This is not a legal issue. It is a moral one.

  7. We know Article 22 is vague and irresponsible by any measure. But what do you propose Ms. Donahue? Isn’t time our legislators demonstrated their leadership rather than kicking the can down the road. Take your best shot.

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