This letter is by Wendy Bucchieri, of Arlington.
Changing our Vermont Constitution is no small matter. The last time Chapter 1 of our Constitution was amended was in 1786.
The stated purpose of this law is to ensure that every Vermonter is afforded personal reproductive liberty — in the article itself it uses the words, “The right to personal reproductive autonomy.”
There are no definitions to define any words used in this proposal, so I believe this law is meant to be a red herring or a carte blanche for some present day political agenda. It has been said by some, ‘Let the courts decide.’
I’d like to point out that our U.S. and state constitutions place the responsibility of making laws solidly into the legislator’s hands and they should be representing ‘We the People.’ Laws should be written clearly enough for the courts to understand them, because the courts should not be interpreting them according to political whims.
Good laws should say what they mean and mean what they say. It should be clear. The courts should not have to interpret and in the process create new laws, courting disasters — which is how we got Roe v. Wade to begin with.
I believe Vermont legislators were fearful that Roe v. Wade was soon to be overturned, so they went into overdrive with the passing of H.57. When H.57 was in committee 700 Vermonters showed up to oppose this bill. Approximately 300 others came to support it. VTDigger reported that there were 58 people who gave public testimony. But no mention of the massive turnout. It went out of committee the next day with approval to move forward.
With the overwhelming opposition to the bill, one might have thought that they would have tweaked the bill to protect the rights of conscience of doctors, nurses, Catholic hospitals, etc. Nope, nada, not one phrase. Instead they crafted legislation to put in our Vermont Constitution to fortify H.57’s position, or so they thought.
Proposal 5 is unnecessary. When was the last time your right to reproduce was infringed? I can’t remember when anybody even hinted that a person didn’t have the right to reproduce. Do you? At least here in America we have been free to marry or not to marry, to have children or not to have children, have lots of children or keep it to one. Nobody dictates otherwise. No natural or written laws dictate otherwise. So why do we need a new article in our Vermont Constitution stating that we need the “right to personal reproductive autonomy”?
On the bright side, I see this law being used by men. Men will finally have a law that puts some teeth into their reproductive rights. They will finally have a say over their offspring that is growing in a woman’s womb. Prop 5 in the Vermont Constitution will supersede even H.57. An abortion is an interference with the man’s right to reproduce.
On the darker side, we know that there are a lot of guys who have pressured their girlfriends or wives to get abortions and legalizing abortion has only made that easier to do. How many women succumb to that pressure to save their relationships, only to live with the heartache, grief and guilt of yielding to an act she never actually wanted to begin with? She wanted her man to come through for her, to love her and their baby. These men will use Prop 5 to try to get out of paying child support. You wait and see! They will argue that they never wanted to reproduce at this time and she should have terminated the baby, and since she did not she has to shoulder the full responsibility of the child. She violated his “personal reproductive autonomy,” whatever that means because it is undefined.
I also conclude that there are other secret agendas for this law. So what could be some of the possibilities? Abortions for minors without parental consent? Human cloning? Designer babies? With crisper technology-animal human hybrids? Implantation of wombs in men? Egg harvesting and the increased potential risk of trafficking young women for that purpose? Not to mention sex change surgeries and their reversals. And if these are rights, then does Medicaid and the state have to pay for the poor to have these procedures and therapies done? And what of those professionals who feel these procedures are morally and ethically wrong and want no part? Without conscience laws to protect them, they will be forced to leave Vermont for employment.