Article 22 takes Vermont a century backwards

by Mark Shepard

Prop 5, Article 22 on Vermonters’ 2022 ballot, reads, “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.”

Mark Shepard

While proponents claim their amendment is to secure a pregnant woman’s unfettered access to a legal abortion, it is no accident that the amendment does not say anything remotely close to that.  Removing the fluff and reversing the phrases uncovers that it does far more to empower the state than women: “So long as the state has no compelling interest otherwise, citizens will have reproductive autonomy.”

The only difference between the two wordings is that Prop 5’s convoluted wording hides the fact that it makes the state the ultimate authority over Vermonter’s reproductive choices.  Don’t be fooled; a right that the state can take away is not a right.  Compare Prop 5 to the clarity in the Bill of Rights.

Indeed, the language of the amendment opens the door to dehumanizing practices, such as forced sterilizations, which were very popular in 20th century America.   

As a Vermont State Senator I sat around committee tables for four years with many of the proponents and learned their goals and priorities directly from them.  The worldview they embrace opposes human impact above all.  Hence, they advocate for policies that greatly restrict human activity, including massively reducing the human population itself.

They are determined to eliminate fossil fuels, nuclear and other forms of energy, that are responsible for our world being so livable and they show no concern whatsoever about there being no remotely comparable replacement for the foreseeable future.  The result would quickly starve half the world’s population and leave most of the rest to a subsistence existence, with its naturally unhealthy air and water (see Fossil Future by Alex Epstein).

To enact ideas like these, which when understood are rejected by all who truly want a better world for people, requires the use of force.  And that is why their policies always shift power away from the citizen and toward the state, and Prop 5 is no exception.

Their commitment to an all-powerful state model was etched into my mind in 2006 when my Democrat colleagues tried to sneak through a resolution praising Venezuelan Socialist President Hugo Chavez – the man most responsible for turning the wealthiest nation in South America into a hell hole, with reports of over 100,000 Venezuelans undergoing a violent death.   Thankfully, I noticed it amidst a group of friendly resolutions, which are always voted on as a group, and I was able to steer it to an embarrassing end.

Could there be a compelling state interest to not allow women on Medicaid to have children? What about people with genetic health issues?    Was Vermont’s assisted suicide law about the right to die, or was it a means for the state to encourage people with poorer health, and hence often a burden to the state, to end their life?  These are not light statements, but they do align well with the radical anti-human worldview that the core Prop 5 proponents openly embrace, as well as explain the vague wording of Prop 5.   Prop 5 is not about securing the rights of any citizen.   It is about giving your rights to the state.  Take it for what it says, not for what the proponents say it says.

It should be unimaginable that the state, which first banned slavery in its constitution, is now considering a dehumanizing idea like Prop 5.   If you think Americans are above such barbaric acts, look up the history of eugenics in America throughout the prior century.   While the legislative process should keep horrific ideas off the ballot, the current legislature failed its duty.   It is up to Vermonters to vote this down and rescue Vermont from regressing back a century!  And while at it, clean the mindset that created Prop 5 out of your legislature.

The author was a Bennington County State Senator 2003-2006.

Categories: Commentary

8 replies »

  1. Your position makes sense to me, Mark. How is it that “Reproductive Autonomy” is so critically important, that the State can take it away if they feel the need. Doesn’t make much sense, now does it?

  2. ” And while at it, clean the mindset that created Prop 5 out of your legislature.” Indeed, and amen. Ask your candidates whether they support Proposition 5/Article 22 and vote accordingly.

  3. I wondered if the State could use the compelling State interest clause as a way to reduce or control rising health care costs.

    Question: What happens when the man’s reproductive autonomy conflicts with the woman’s reproductive autonomy?.
    Answer: The courts will decide.

  4. Please don’t blindly vote. This is a deceptive bill. Purposely vague to give the government
    The right to make any decision ,for any circumstance ,they see fit to control .

  5. The most dangerous place to be in today’s America is the womb…with 65,000,000 terminated, the chances for an innocent to come to term and live a full life is marginal. What a sad and Godless reality. And Vermont is going to perpetuate this gruesome practice by passing this euphemistic murder law…”reproductive autonomy”…don’t be fooled, Vermont, this is pure evil…

  6. Article-22 is a “Decoy or Straw-Man” to create hysteria in the electorate in order to pass it. The uses above are all true. You can add to that: 1) Farm property confiscation for proposed communes, 2) any “Bill of Rights” issue in the US Constitution since the Vermont Constitution historically rules over the US Constitution under actual state’s rights issues. BUT, interestingly the ultimate outcome of the insertion of: “compelling State interest” is does it really act to eliminate the Vermont Constitution and if so can it even be valid? Better to vote it down rather than let the courts decide if they actually exist or not. Solution: Vote all incumbents who supported Proposition 5 out of office so that we don’t need that headache, too. Hint: This is from one of the two candidates for Vt Senate from Addison County who live in Addison County and Didn’t vote for Article-22 during its “inception” (not unlike the challenge to “conception” and the only excuse for Article-22 in the first place).