Vermont Article 22: Do black lives matter?

This commentary is by Molly and Richard Jesse, of Essex.

“Systemic racism” refers to all of the policies and practices entrenched in established institutions that harm certain racial groups and help others. One example is the current 18:1 disparity between federal penalties for crack cocaine and powder cocaine, imposing the same penalties for the possession of an amount of crack cocaine as for 18 times the same amount of powder cocaine.  Research shows this disparity affects crack users who are more likely to be Black, low-income and less educated [1].

Now consider Article 22 (aka Proposal 5), a proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution that will permit abortions – taking the life of an unborn child, for any reason, through all nine months of pregnancy – up to and including the day of birth.  Article 22 will be on the 2022 General Election ballot in November for an up or down vote by Vermonters. If Article 22 passes, Vermonters will have no right to choose to protect the life of the unborn. Vermont will then be the first state in the country to explicitly deny unborn children the right to life in its constitution.

In a recent article, James Studnicki and co-authors examine the pervasive racial disparity entrenched in abortion [2]. The article begins:

“While induced abortion remains a contentious political issue, there is no credible scientific doubt that a unique human life begins at conception and, therefore, ends with an abortion. Even the Obama administration and the abortion-friendly Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have acknowledged ‘the critical importance of a child’s first 1,000 days after conception in determining a healthy and productive life trajectory…to ensure that all children…have an equal opportunity to survive and thrive.’

Yet, the evidence is clear that for many decades Black children in the United States have not had, and do not have today, an equal opportunity to survive until birth.”

Later in their article the authors report that “…Black women have been experiencing abortions at a rate nearly 4 times that of White women for more than 30 years. It is very likely that the disparity existed even before there was any reporting [of abortion data].” For Vermont in 2019, Black women experienced abortions at a rate 4.4 times that of White women.

What is the conclusion from this?  “Given [the] high incidence and racially skewed distribution [of induced abortion], abortion is unquestionably the most demographically consequential occurrence for the [Black] community.  Its [harmful] impact on the size and racial composition of the nation [including Vermont with its small Minority population] is undeniable.”  In policy and practice then, abortion is systemically racist.

Vermonters should stand against “enshrining” systemic racism in the Vermont Constitution and vote “no” in November to adding Article 22.

[1]    J. J. Palamar et al., “Powder Cocaine and Crack Use in the United States: An Examination of Risk for Arrest and Socioeconomic Disparities in Use,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence , Volume 149, 2015, 108-116.  Available at: (accessed 2/27/2022).

[2]    J. Studnicki et al., “Perceiving and Addressing the Pervasive Racial Disparity in Abortion,” Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, Volume 7, 2020. Available at:!po=1.06383 (accessed 2/27/2022).

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/sarahmirk/CC BY-SA 4.0

9 thoughts on “Vermont Article 22: Do black lives matter?

  1. For all the sign-carrying or flag-waving BLM supporters, if you really believed in this
    propaganda nonsense, you would have been protesting in cities like ” Chicago ” with
    it’s daily ” Bloodletting ” of blacks……….you pathetic fools !!

    So post your signs, wave your flags, and drink your latte, then stay in your cocoon of
    safety, and not in the neighborhoods in cities like Chicago …..Hypocrites.

    You really don’t care, it’s all talking points of BS…………………

  2. Did everyone know in Washington State they reduced charges related to drive by shootings because they are primarily committed by black people that have been historically the victims of systematic racism in our country. So if you shoot from a vehicle and indiscriminately spray a residence with bullets, youre likely a victim too and shouldnt face attempted murder charges. You cant make this stuff up. And they call themselves WOKE!

  3. If crime and incarceration rates are inherently racist, certainly planned parenthood and other abortion providers are as well. Blacks make up 13% of our country’s population yet over 30% of abortions. Oh yea, where there’s a double standard, there’s a hidden agenda….

  4. Black Lives Matter, wow, what a farce to of the legislature to state that black lives actually matter. They matter so much they’ll offer an abortion plan up to the time of birth to eliminate these lives. They matter so much that they let the state carry a $4.5 Billion deficit that takes away from Black lives and other minority and not so minority populations of the state. They matter so much we have had an unaddressed housing crisis in the state for the past several years. They matter so much that refurbishing the statehouse cafe is priority over the people’s business because the legislators are too royal to sit in regular people’s chairs.

    In the past several years since retiring I’ve listened to thousands of hours of legislative sessions, committee hearings, Governor conferences and quite frankly you folks are severely out of touch with Vermonters needs.

    • It appears that the legislative culture calls for officials to pursue the AGENDAS of their loudest special interests. There was a time when seeking the consensus of constituents and striving to actually REPRESENT that consensus was the standard. Perhaps we can vote in folks who will resurrect that ethos If there is not compelling consensus or there’s an impassioned opposition — then it’s not an arena for laws & regulations. You treading on your neighbors..

  5. Anyone who thinks BLM is a noble organization or cause does not have a full set of working brains. Jessy Jackson said; abortion is black genocide. But these liberals don’t understand the statement, because they don’t want to.

  6. Street artist Sabo displayed it best, with a Planned Parenthood endorsement stating Black Lives are Matter…

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