by Carol Kauffman
The Vermont Family Alliance questions why parents are being kicked out of the village regarding their children’s “reproductive liberty” decisions.
Parental rights in Vermont state government and education regarding their children’s “reproductive liberty” is not a Fox News or GOP exclusive. The national conversation surrounding minor “reproductive liberty” is about parent involvement. Is Superintendent Flanagan listening to parents? Is Gov. Scott listening to parents? Is House Speaker Krowinski listening to parents?
State government, Planned Parenthood and public school officials are stepping in as surrogate parents, using the public schools as their market. If passed, Prop 5/Article 22 will make it exponentially worse by further eroding parental rights. Remember, constitutional law has no age limits.
Consider the following:
• Act 35 (2017) already allows any minor to consent to receive outpatient mental health treatment without authorization from a parent or legal guardian. Parents are denied the right to choose a family mental health provider. Licensed mental health providers are not required.
• H.659 (introduced 2022) proposes “to allow a minor who identifies as transgender to consent to receiving hormone blockers and other nonsurgical, gender-affirming care and treatment without requiring parental consent.” Parents had no input.
• Two reproductive initiatives for minors were released by the Department of Education.
The first is known as the “condom availability program” (H.663 in 2020), which requires that schools provide free condoms to students in seventh through 12th grade. Parents had no input.
The second was the “Full Spectrum: Educators’ Guide to Implementing LGBTQ+ Inclusive Sex Ed.” (2018) Parents had no input.
Prop 5/Article 22 would make (the intentionally vague) “reproductive autonomy” a constitutional right. Given the anti-parent precedent already set in the above examples, it’s clear Article 22 will further erode the rights of parents and leave minors unprotected.
It’s time for an open discussion prior to the November vote on Article 22. Gov. Scott, House Speaker Krowinski and Superintendent Flanagan can choose experts in support of Article 22 and their agenda in the classrooms and the Vermont Family Alliance will choose experts opposed.
“Sec. 2. Article 22 of Chapter I of the Vermont Constitution is added to read: Article 22. (Personal reproductive liberty) 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.”
The author is an Addison resident with Vermont Family Alliance.