Christina Nolan: ‘Vote no on Article 22’

This commentary is by Christina Nolan, former U.S. attorney for Vermont.

In the wake of the shocking overturning of the 50-year precedent Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed all American women the right to an abortion in the first trimester, the U.S. Congress must act. It must pass legislation to restore early-term abortion rights nationwide. The vast majority of abortions occur in the first trimester, but not all of them.

What we should not do is rush to an extreme “solution” in search of a problem that never existed. And that is exactly what Article 22 would do by changing the Vermont Constitution so that Vermonters could never again vote to regulate late-term abortion.

U.S. Department of Justice

Christina Nolan, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont

To be very clear, Roe does not need to be “codified” in Vermont; abortion is legal here in Vermont and always will be. But Article 22 is not Roe; on the contrary, it is so extreme that it would contravene the very Roe decision it purports to protect.

Roe said that the people of each state should retain the option to regulate abortion in the late stages of pregnancy. And for obvious reason: Whatever your view on when life begins — and people of good faith can disagree — when you get to seven, eight, or nine months of pregnancy, we can all agree that you are, at minimum, risking the taking of a young and innocent life, a risk society cannot tolerate absent a medical emergency threatening the mother’s life.

To be clear, I believe that we, like most European countries, should have a nationwide guarantee to early-term abortion access, just like Roe said. I believe that we should allow states to opt for restrictions in late stages of pregnancy, just like Roe said, and just like the European countries do. But abortion anytime for any reason, up to nine months, shocks the conscience.

This is not a political question. The science, which we must follow on issues such as, for example, fetal pain, tells us so. Roe v. Wade tells us so. We should do as Roe instructs. This means Congress doing its job and making Roe v. Wade law across the country.

What we should not do is pass a reactionary constitutional amendment that is contrary to Roe insofar as, in practice, it may require abortion in Vermont up to the point of delivery, for any reason — and forever.

I say “may require” because some proponents argue that the language of the amendment is broad enough to “potentially” allow restrictions on late-term abortion. No one knows, and it will be up to judges. Especially on an issue of this magnitude, we can, we must, do better than “may” and “potentially.”

Vermont Legislature: Redraft the amendment to expressly state that Vermonters retain the right to restrict late-term abortion, as Roe contemplated, and we will have a very different conversation.

There is another facet to this problem: Those who are taking extreme positions in the other direction — for example, those calling for a nationwide abortion ban at all stages of pregnancy with no exceptions for life of the mother, rape and incest — are terrifying people, women especially, and, in a very real way fueling the unfounded sense of need to pass this Vermont constitutional amendment.

This extremism is deeply disturbing and must be roundly rejected by people of all political parties. It undermines those who sensibly seek to restore early-term abortion rights nationwide, while also opposing conscience-shocking elective late-term abortion that Article 22 would forever require.

There is hardly an issue more difficult than abortion. Women have yet to achieve real equality in so many areas of life, and so many watched in fear and utter disbelief as their well-established reproductive rights were suddenly stripped away overnight.

On the other hand, there is without question an overarching societal interest in protecting the very youngest of lives. Let’s treat each other well, listen to one another, and come together to find common ground and common-sense solutions on this and other difficult issues.

Restore Roe and the early-term abortion rights it established through federal legislation; follow Roe by allowing states to restrict late-term abortion. Don’t defy Roe. Vote no on article 22.

Images courtesy of Public domain and U.S. Department of Justice
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16 thoughts on “Christina Nolan: ‘Vote no on Article 22’

  1. Democrats Mantra: “I believe reproductive care is health care….” God help us…mask it with every euphemism the liberals can conjure up, including Hillary Clinton who once referred to this ‘right’ as her religion, but what it comes down to is wanton ” Abortion” and killing of a helpless embro, fetus, child…ask those who have had one about the consequences they have suffered in their lives…regrettable, grievous depressed, and scarred. Vote NO on Article 22…literally ‘For the Love of God’

  2. A woman on Front Porch Forum just posted:

    “Article 22 which addresses a woman’s right to choose has some very misleading wording that may be misunderstood by many. The ACLU AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD SAY TO VOTE YES!!!! Remember if you believe in a woman’s right to choose. VOTE YES!”

    How does anyone address this nonsensical point of view? Imagine… “Article 22 has some very misleading wording…” so amend the Vermont Cconstitution to include it? Really?

  3. Here is another point about Article 22. If passed, it will protect a father’s “personal reproductive freedom”. A male parent will have the opportunity to prevent an abortion of his child using this phrase as a defense.

    Unintended consequences ?

      • Oh, and so ‘pregnancy’ is the only circumstance in which a person’s ‘reproductive freedom’ can be considered? Please show me that language in Article 22. And keep in mind that whatever the considered circumstance, under Article 22 it isn’t up to the individual but rather ‘…a compelling State interest’, whatever the legislature determines that to be.

  4. I guarantee that if Article 22 passes, infanticide will follow quickly as Vermont continues to spiral down into the Dark Ages. Thank you for speaking out against Article 22, Christine. Let us pray it dies here and now and that the citizens of Vermont still have consciences.

  5. Astounding that nobody thinks beyond “rescuing.” The Elizabeth Lund Home in Burlington “rescued” Ted Bundy– and nobody cared about his development after that, rather to the detriment of some three to five dozen young women that he murdered.

    I would be more impressed with Nolan if she proposed the state of Vermont raising taxes to ensure $360,000 set aside for the safe nurture of every child “rescued” from abortion.

    • So, spending $360K on every child guarantees we will no longer have anyone like Ted Bundy to contend with?

      Have you read Bundy’s biography? While his father abandoned his mother before he was born, Bundy was raised by his grandparents and believed they were his real parents. There is nothing in Bundy’s past indicating that he was not ‘safely nurtured’ as a child. A biographer, Ann Rule, who knew Bundy, said he didn’t learn about his birth mother until he was 23 years old.

      So, again, explain how spending $360K on Mr. Bundy as a child would have changed his outcome.

      BTW: Why didn’t these orphans turn into serial killers?
      Alexander Hamilton – American Founder
      Norma Jean Mortenson – Marilyn Monroe
      Andrew Jackson – U.S. President
      John Lennon – The Beatles
      Steve Jobs – Apple Computer Founder
      Babe Ruth: – Baseball player
      Edgar Allan Poe – Author
      Eleanor Roosevelt – First Lady
      Sean Connery – Actor
      Ella Fitzgerald – Singer

      And then explain why these serial killers became what they were after growing up in good homes.
      Dennis L. Rader – known as the BTK serial killer
      Richard Cottingham – the “Butcher of Times Square”
      Randy Kraft – Scorecard Killer, the Southern California Strangler, and the Freeway Killer
      Dr. Harold Shipman – “Dr. Death”

      • You clearly have not spent a career dealing with family dynamics. I worked with people who did and who could diagnose serious familial problems quite easily. Polly Nelson, Ted Bundy’s public defender, suggested in “Defending the Devil” that Bundy’s grandfather abused his daughters, and it looks to me like he also emotionally abused Bundy. And that’s just for starts. She points out that nobody paid enough attention to him to deal with his ADD/ADHD disorders.

        You might want to start learning about the real family values that warp children by reading Sharon Wegscheider’s “The Family Trap.” And that’s only about alcoholism, the disease that used to get one-eighth the coverage in medical school that leprosy got, even though it’s thousands of times more prevalent in the US.

        • False dichotomies all, cgregory. No one ever said child abuse, ADD/ADHD, or alcoholism and leprosy weren’t or couldn’t be significant factors in anyone’s life. Yours was the outrageous claim (an assertion followed by many progressive/libs) that throwing money ($360K to be specific) at a problem is the only determining factor in anyone’s outcome. That you are now changing your perspective verifies your initial fallacy.

  6. Generally speaking, after 22 weeks, a baby can survive outside the mother’s womb…. not sure why we
    should give a blanket acceptance to late term abortions unless the mother’s life is in jeopardy…. first and second trimester abortions will not be going away despite the hysteria from those supporting this vague bill.

    Someday, we will consider our behavior and see abortion as destroying a three person creation – the mother, the father and the child….. not ready for children? victim of an assault? there is contraception, the morning after pill and yes, as a last resort, abortion……………. last but never the first option….

    thanks to Christina for writing this article – Bill

  7. This is one of the very few things she has said that I agree with. — Anyone who wnts to kill children is evil.

      • And who would ‘the people who refuse to care for children’ be? Anyone living in the United States and paying taxes agrees to take care of other people’s children to one extent or another. And they agree to hold negligent parents accountable to one extent or another. Be it through the rule of law or publicly funded education, or any of the many other social services available (foster care, SNAP, housing, Social Security disability, and so forth) – all under U.S., State and Municipal statute, everyone agrees to accept that responsibility to some extent.

        The question neither you nor ed letourneau answer is: do unborn children qualify for any constitutional protections? And, if so, when? And with what limitations? Article 22 seems to me to be specifically designed to avoid answering those questions.

  8. If this passes does Vermont get put on a list of goverments that sanction infanticide? Seems like there must be a human rights orginazation that tracks this.

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