Opinion: Legislature may be genital mutilation, but would law violate Prop 5 ‘reproductive autonomy’?

By Guy Page

Does H.83, banning female genital cutting of minors, violate the spirit of Proposal 5, the constitutional right to unlimited reproductive autonomy?

The proposed Senate amendment to H.83 will be taken up on the floor of the House on Wednesday, right before debate and possible override of Gov. Scott’s veto of the minimum wage bill.

Guy Page

H.83 states that “no person shall knowingly circumcise, excise, or infibulate the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained 18 years of age,” except in cases of medical necessity. “That the procedure is required as a matter of custom or ritual” or that the patient, parent or guardian gave consent is not a defense. It is sponsored by Rep. Dr. George Till (D-Underhill) and 27 other lawmakers, all Democrats or Progressives.

By apparent contrast, Proposal 5, the Constitutional amendment approved by both House and Senate, states “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.”

If Prop 5 is passed in the next biennium by both House and Senate and then by a majority of voters at a statewide referendum in November 2022, supporters of genital mutilation (mostly from third world countries) could very well argue that removal of the clitoris is an act of “personal reproductive autonomy” because it is intended to promote sexual loyalty of a wife to her husband.

To be clear — no one in the Vermont State House is speaking in favor of genital mutilation, especially when forced on a minor by her parents. Supporters of both Prop 5 and H.83 might well say that H.83 limits reproductive autonomy because genital mutilation reduces female sexual pleasure and in some circumstances amounts to one or more persons controlling what a woman does with her body. But what if the patient consents? Isn’t the point of Prop 5 to give “personal reproductive autonomy” to individuals, regardless of how much others abhor the act?

“My body — my choice?” Ultimately, the courts will decide whether genital mutilation would be protected under the proposed Constitutional amendment.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports.

5 thoughts on “Opinion: Legislature may be genital mutilation, but would law violate Prop 5 ‘reproductive autonomy’?

  1. This is just another liberal boondoggle, now they wan to butcher young women
    for what reason ??

    This may be the practice in those ” third world ” countries, we are not there yet, but with
    the Liberal Mindset we have in Montpelier …..it won’t belong.

    Here we have a state in financial turmoil and we are writing bills above the removal of
    the female genital !!

    Wake up people send these fools packing ……………… what nonsense.

  2. Has there ever been a bigger waste of money? From Montpelier’s elite, the state’s populace doesn’t get it’s money worth. This is on par with gun control. They should all point to their heads and abbreviate Montana.

  3. what’s their opinion on lobotomies for the dems and progs who think genital mutilation
    needs addressing but killing babies in the womb is fine….

  4. Unfortunately, in some religious beliefs of immigrants from Africa, the middle East, Pakistan and India, female circumcision is practiced. H.83 sets an age limit at 18 for such procedures. Prop 5 would only apply if the female is 18 or older.

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