Jay Eshelman: Laboratories of democracy

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.

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3 thoughts on “Jay Eshelman: Laboratories of democracy

  1. So, how many children do you want born looking like frogs because they have no forebrain and destined to die slowly and painfully within a day or so? How many women do you want to have die because their fetus’ presence has caused untreatable eclampsia? I could go on and on….

    Sometimes abortion is a mercy.

    • The false premise rises again…. eh, cgregory. What makes you think anyone wants a child with no forebrain? Or to die painfully and slowly? And since when is eclampsia untreatable?

      “Delivering your baby and placenta are the recommended treatment for preeclampsia and eclampsia. Your doctor will consider the severity of the disease and how mature your baby is when recommending timing of delivery.”

      Yes, there are more risks with preeclampsia and eclampsia. Some risks are dire. But every instance has its own prognosis.

      So, what’s your point? To throw every baby out with the bathwater?

  2. Vermont’s Prop 5/Article 22 is so singular in its target (all individuals) and infinitely broad in scope, it may be a moot point, even if passed, because there is no reference to ‘severability’ (a clause in a given law providing that any portion of the law deemed to be unenforceable does not affect the validity of the rest of the law’s provisions).

    Does, for example, Prop 5/Article 22 give authority for any individual, regardless of age, to the personal reproductive autonomy central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course? Is gender reassignment a reproductive liberty?

    Vermont’s statutes are loaded with parental rights laws, especially legislation involving the termination of those rights. Essentially, I suspect, with the passage of Prop 5/Article 22, we are going to see a plethora of court cases in this regard. It’s no wonder, then, that the VT ACLU supports Prop 5/Article 22. Its members, and many attorneys for that matter, will surely be busy in the days to come.

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