Lamberton: Proposal 5 has nothing to do with Roe v. Wade

This commentary is by Annisa Lamberton, of Middletown Springs. She is the spokesperson for Vermonters for Good Government.

As the science behind fetal development becomes more understood — when an unborn child can feel pain, show brainwave activity, or form functioning organs, etc., — it makes sense that we are all taking a fresh look at policies surrounding abortion. In many states this knowledge, new since 1973, is culminating in laws that provide more protections for the developing unborn child, such as disallowing abortions after a detectable heartbeat or through partial-birth procedures.

Roe v. Wade attempted to balance the interests of the mother, the unborn child and the state. In Vermont, however, the legislature is taking us in the opposite direction with the proposed constitutional amendment, Proposal 5 (aka Article 22): an effort, in part, to strip the unborn of any current or future consideration, legal recognition or protection at any point during pregnancy.

Although advocates of Proposal 5 often cite respect for Roe v. Wade as a rallying cry, what they are calling for is, instead, a radical departure from that Supreme Court precedent. Roe v. Wade, after all, only guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. Under Roe, some legal restrictions recognizing and protecting the unborn child can and do kick in during the second trimester, and outright bans on late-term abortions during the third trimester, with some medical exceptions, are normal.

Most people who consider themselves pro-choice are “Roe v. Wade pro-choice”: keep abortion legal in early stages, but with reasonable restrictions and regulations, especially regarding late-term abortions. But the activist group of Vermont pro-abortion campaigners is trying to force voters into a mold where “pro-choice” means no checks on abortion throughout all nine months, right up to the point of birth. Prop 5/Article 22 is an “all or nothing” amendment leaving Roe moderates cringing at its possibilities.

This is what they’ve given us with Proposal 5, which says:

That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.

While this language is dubiously vague, there is no dispute that, if ratified, the amendment would mean the state of Vermont will be virtually powerless to follow Roe by enacting any balanced law to protect viable children. For example, Vermont has no current law protecting against loss of pregnancy due to criminal abuse, and under Prop 5/Article 22, no such law would be considered. Fetal homicide laws or enhanced penalties exist in 46 states. Vermont is an extreme outlier.

Additionally, a mother could terminate the life of a healthy and viable eight-and-a-half-month-old unborn girl because her partner demands a boy, and the state of Vermont could not “deny or infringe” her right to do so. The impossibility of adding these lacking protections was confirmed in testimony.

When asked whether a possible future law declaring that a fetus is a person at 24 weeks gestation, when it could live outside the womb, would be allowed under Article 22/Prop 5, Eleanor Spottswood, Vermont Solicitor General said:

The extent that that statute would interfere with a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy, or a pregnant person’s right to reproductive autonomy, that portion of the bill would not be upheld under Prop 5.

Again, this looks nothing like Roe v. Wade, and it does not reflect where most Vermonters stand. Proposal 5 advocates’ constant cloaking of Proposal 5 in the rhetoric of “preserving Roe v. Wade” at the state level, should the Supreme Court overturn it, is a misleading tactic.

If Vermonters want to protect the precedents set by Roe v. Wade with state law or even a state constitutional amendment, the language and intent of any such legislation should clearly reflect the balance and legal precedents of Roe v. Wade. Proposal 5 does not.

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6 thoughts on “Lamberton: Proposal 5 has nothing to do with Roe v. Wade

  1. A lot of things have changed since Roe vs. Wade, and in big ways.

    There are huge advances in birth control.. there are just untold millions of women that live a lifetime having sexual relations and they don’t get pregnant until they want to get pregnant.
    It’s called taking responsibility for your actions. There is no excuse in this day and age to get pregnant by accident. This is just a disgusting excuse, if you got yourself knocked up, then YOU didn’t do something you should have done..and it’s not the innocent child’s fault that you failed.
    If you don’t want a child, then have the decency to bring it into the world and allow it to be adopted by good people that are desperate to have and love your child.
    This is about right and wrong, responsibility and accountability.

    Next, there is a sickening booming trade of selling baby parts, human fetal cells from abortions, all sorts of this stuff. This industry that makes billions of dollars and it’s filthy tentacles are all over this topic because they profit from it all. Much of the “Public Opinion” on this topic has been swayed by paid political activism..
    This was not the case back in the 70s.

    We have become such a depraved society lacking in morals that I think we don’t even see this any more for what it really is.
    I cannot fathom that we are fighting to stop people from killing their own babies- often very viable babies that would survive if allowed to be born.
    Human life begins at conception. Why is one stage of development more important than another?
    Why does a baby matter more at one stage than another?

    This is not about reproductive rights, this is about murdering your own child and it’s often heinous in how it’s done.
    If we talked out what abortion really is, I doubt many people would do it.

    • If Louise Cowell had had an abortion, the resulting child, Ted Bundy, would not have killed between 3 dozen and 5 dozen young women.

      Nobody ever questioned whether he was being raised as a human ought to be.

  2. When a woman bears a child, she undertakes a great responsibility— to raise that child well. Intelligent pregnant women know what the odds against that are, and they might well decide they cannot do it. Here is a list of the dangers they will have to protect their child against:

    In America a child is born approximately every nine seconds, about 7 per minute, about 400 per hour, 96,000 per day, 3.5 million every year. Due to the sheer force of probability, each one of them has a destiny fairly well shaped for it as soon as its mother decides to carry it to term:

    Every eighteen seconds a child is born who for most of his life will barely, if at all, know his biological father
    Every 27 seconds, a baby is born whose parents never intended for him to exist
    Every thirty-six seconds, a baby is born who will not graduate high school
    Every thirty-six seconds, a child is born to a life without health insurance
    Every thirty-six seconds, a baby is born who will live in a family with an alcoholic parent
    Every forty-five seconds a child will be born to live in poverty
    Every sixty-three seconds a child is born who will be left alone at home unsupervised between the ages of five and fourteen. . .
    There’s more, if you care to hear.

  3. Propositon5/Article 22 is no different than the language perpetrated and passed and supported by the Nazis and the views of the infamous Dr. Mengele during the Holocaust. It is horrific and should be defeated no matter what it takes to do so.. You don’t abort babies right up until at the moment of birth unless you favor eugenics and consider babies as humans who can be extinguished at will.

  4. “central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”

    Is that some high end psycho babble or what??? Only a leftist could
    conger up such a vague and meaningless writ of law…

  5. Prop 5/Article 22 is laced with neural linguistics; appealing to those who feel the need to make selfishness appear virtuous.

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