Rep. Anne Donahue of Northfield is joining the effort to help Vermonters for Good Government educate voters about Prop 5/Article 22 issues across Vermont through various mediums over the coming months. Donahue is acknowledged as one of the most knowledgeable and articulate legislators in the statehouse.
As the November vote on Prop 5 and ‘personal reproductive autonomy’ draws closer, Donahue will provide commentaries, interviews, speaking engagements, and (hopefully) debate participation.
Donahue has been a Vermont state legislator since 2003, and currently is vice-chair of the Health Care Committee and represents Northfield and Berlin. She is from a multi-generation Vermont family. She is well known as a mental health advocate, a passion born from her own experiences with serious mental illness in the 1990s.
Donahue is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, and has spent many years working with young people, including running nationally recognized street outreach programs for runaway and homeless youth in New York City and Los Angeles.
Annisa Lamberton, current spokesperson for VFGG, who will continue doing speaking engagements, welcomes the expert “reinforcement.”
“We are so pleased that Rep. Donahue is going to take a lead role in educating Vermonters about the hidden dangers of Article 22. We have a big task ahead of us; many Vermonters are just hearing about Article 22 for the first time and haven’t been told the full story about the implications of a vaguely worded Constitutional amendment.
“She’s had a front row seat to this process and has a strong desire to fulfill her legislative responsibilities to make sure Vermont voters truly understand what Article 22 will mean for all of us,” said Lamberton.
Donahue was in the thick of things during the legislative phase of the Constitutional amendment process in the statehouse. She raised the alarm many times about the issues stemming from poorly worded legal language. She raised those concerns both within the statehouse and in public.
In a commentary that was published around the state in January of this year, Rep. Donahue wrote;
“There should be deep concern about the impact that Proposal 5 could have on our state’s hospitals, health care delivery and workforce crisis through overturning such protections.
There are inaccurate perceptions about the scope and intent of this constitutional amendment, …which describe its purpose as to “protect the abortion rights spelled out in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.”
In fact, the unusual wording of the constitutional amendment would do three key things:
- It would protect any abortion for any reason until the moment of birth (unlike the balance of state interests created in Roe for third trimester pregnancies), likely rendering null any individual hospital’s abortion policies, including conflict of care policies.
- It would extend protection to any health care service that relates to “’personal reproductive autonomy” with no known definition of how far that concept might extend.
- It would turn any debate over that high bar of what constitutes a “compelling state interest” over to the Vermont courts.
It offers no final word, but rather would be subjected to any number of future court interpretations.”
VFGG Executive Director Matthew Strong also had high praise for the new partnership.
“Rep. Donahue’s offer to help our efforts is a sign of our momentum and we are honored to have her help. She has deep healthcare policy knowledge, extremely important legal training and understanding, and is one of the most careful thinkers in the statehouse. She is also unafraid to take stands that might be risky or go against preset notions.
“She is more concerned about real world ramifications of the bills she votes on than simply voting party lines, and that speaks to the heart of the issue for us at VFGG,” Matthew said.
To schedule Rep. Anne Donahue (or Annisa Lamberton or Matthew Strong) for a speaking engagement, Q&A, interview or comment for all media formats, or a moderated public debate, contact Strong at LearnMore@VermontersForGoodGovernment.org