By Wendy Bucchieri
Changing our Vermont Constitution is no small matter. The last time Chapter 1 of our constitution was amended was in 1786. The stated purpose of this law is to ensure that every Vermonter is afforded personal reproductive liberty, and the article itself it uses the words, “The right to personal reproductive autonomy.” There are no definitions to define any words used in this proposal.
Our US and State Constitutions place the responsibility of making laws solidly into the legislator’s hands with the purpose of representing “We the People”. Laws should be written clearly enough for the courts to understand them, and the courts should not be “interpreting” them according to political whims.
Good laws should say what they mean and mean what they say! It should be clear. The courts should not have to interpret and in the process create new laws, courting disasters, which is what led to Roe vs. Wade.
Fear of overturning Roe vs. Wade, drove Vermont legislators to the passing of H57. When H57 was in committee, 700 Vermonters showed up to oppose this bill! Approximately 300 others came to support it. VT Digger reported that 58 people gave public testimony, 28 versus 30, but no mention of the massive turnout. It went out of committee the next day with approval to move forward.
Despite the overwhelming opposition to the bill, not one phrase in the bill was changed to protect the rights of conscience of doctors, nurses, Catholic hospitals etc. Instead, they crafted legislation to put in our Vermont Constitution to fortify H57’s position or so they thought… Proposal 5.
Proposal 5 is unnecessary. When was the last time your right to reproduce was infringed? I can’t remember when anybody even hinted that a person didn’t have the right to reproduce. Do you? At least here in America, we have been free to marry or not to marry, to have children or not to have children, have a lot of children or keep it to one. Nobody dictates otherwise. No natural or written laws dictate otherwise. So why do we need a new article in our Vermont Constitution stating that we need the “right to personal reproductive autonomy”?
On the bright side, Proposal 5 gives rights to men. Men will finally have a law that puts some teeth into their reproductive rights! They will finally have a say over their off-spring that is growing in a woman’s womb! Because Prop 5 in the Vermont Constitution will supersede even H57. An abortion is an interference with the man’s right to reproduce.
On the darker side, we know that there are men, who have pressured their girlfriends or wives to get abortions, and legalizing abortion has only made that easier to do. How many women succumb to that pressure to save their relationships, only to live with the heartache, grief and after-guilt of yielding to an act she never actually wanted to begin with?
Some men will use Prop 5 to try to get out of paying child support by arguing that they never wanted to reproduce at this time, and the woman should have terminated the baby, so now she has to shoulder the full responsibility of the child. She violated his “Personal Reproductive Autonomy”, whatever that means since the term is undefined.
What else does Prop 5 allow? Abortions for minors without parental consent? Human cloning? Designer babies? With crisper technology-animal human hybrids? Implantation of wombs in men? Egg harvesting and the increased potential risk of trafficking young women for that purpose? Sex change surgeries and reversals? And if these are rights, does Medicaid and the state have to pay for the poor to have these procedures and therapies done? What of those professionals, who feel these procedures are morally and ethically wrong and want no part? Without conscience laws to protect them, they will be forced to leave Vermont for employment.
Proposal 5, Act 22 is beneath the dignity of being placed in our Vermont Constitution. It will open a Pandora’s Box of Litigation.
Please Vote NO on Proposal 5.
The author lives in Arlington, Vermont