The following statement by Bishop Christopher Coyne of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is published on vermontcatholic.org.
This Friday, the Vermont State Senate is scheduled to vote on Proposal 5 that seeks to enshrine “personal reproductive autonomy” into the state constitution. In previous legislative testimony it was clearly demonstrated that the focus of this amendment is to amend our state constitution to allow in perpetuity access to abortion in at all stages of pregnancy with no restrictions.
This constitutional amendment is unnecessary and unclear. Currently, Vermont law allows abortions to be performed, regardless of the reason, right up to moment of natural birth. That is clear and tragic. Additionally, the proposed amendment introduces the phrase “reproductive liberty.” Proponents have openly acknowledged this language is vague and have placed any future interpretation of the meaning of the term on the legislature and the courts. As a practical matter, it is not prudent to pass a law or an amendment to the constitution if even the proponents do not know what it means. It is entirely possible that future interpretations will present additional dangers to the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Church stands for the protection of all life from the moment of conception until natural death. The truth is that all human life is sacred. Many Catholics and people of good will advocate tirelessly for the protection of the lives of the unborn, the sick and other vulnerable people. This past year has seen heroic efforts and sacrifices to preserve and protect the lives of so many during the Covid pandemic. This defense of human life, especially of the most vulnerable in our midst, represents what is best about us.
Thank you to everyone who has and continues to advocate for life in our state and to those who support and accompany women, children and families, especially during difficult times and through difficult decisions. Your work is important and necessary. You show the loving face of God to those who need comfort and strength.
I continue to pray and hope for a day that every human life is seen not as a problem but as a precious gift worthy of protection and love. I pray that the good people of Vermont will accept and love every human, no matter how inconvenient.
Let us lift up our hearts in prayer. Please pray a rosary this Friday for our legislators and for the intentions of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.