This commentary is by Jay Eshelman, a business owner and a former Work Force Investment Board and River Valley Technical Center board member. He is a resident of Westminster, Vermont.
Vermont isn’t the only state with a reproductive liberty amendment (Article 22, Prop 5) on November’s ballot. Michigan has a similar initiative on its ballot, curiously enough called Proposal 3. And it was initiated for the same reason — the SCOTUS overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“Proposal 22-3: A proposal to amend the state constitution to establish new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make all decisions about pregnancy and abortion; allow state to regulate abortion in some cases; and forbid prosecution of individuals exercising established right.”
Yes, the Michigan proposal is more specific than Vermont’s. This proposed constitutional amendment would:
- Establish a new individual right to reproductive freedom, including a right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy, such as prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility;
- Allow the state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, but not prohibit if medically needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health;
- Forbid state discrimination in enforcement of this right; prohibit prosecution of an individual, or a person helping a pregnant individual, for exercising rights established by this amendment;
- Invalidate state laws conflicting with this amendment.
Please keep in mind that Vermont’s proposal, Article 22, is not specific at all. In other words, Vermont’s Article 22 has no limitations, other than “a compelling state interest,” whatever that is later determined to be.
The current panic in Michigan is that its proposed constitutional amendment will, among other things, allow children to have “reproductive liberty,” too. Minors, for example, will be able to decide for themselves, regardless of age or parental consent, whether or not to undergo a transgender or “gender affirming” reassignment.
So, please read, again, Vermont’s Article 22. There are no limitations in it. Why Vermont’s legislature, the VT ACLU, and League of Women Voters support this clearly dystopian change to Vermont’s Constitution is beyond me. Please don’t believe what anyone tells you Article 22 says. Read what it says for yourselves.
Vermont’s Article 22 is infinitely more open-ended in its possibilities than the proposed Michigan amendment. The unforeseen, and perhaps unintended, consequences of passing Vermont’s Article 22 cannot be overstated.