Donahue: Legislature decided abortion not really about choice

by Rep. Anne Donahue

I heard a conversation a few months ago about frustration that pro-lifers achieved overturning Roe by working for years to elect people and get judges appointed.

They felt that was so underhanded, after they worked for so many years to elect people and get judges elected to get abortion rights established.

Yes, that’s a paraphrase, but not by much — they truly didn’t hear themselves. And yes, folks, that’s how democracy works. They are the ones who taught us how to do it!

But certain issues should not be fought on political stages, because they do involve fundamental rights.

Dobbs did one thing right – that we celebrate today – it withdrew the concept that a woman had a constitutional right to decide whether a pregnancy should continue, and as a result, states can now again be the ones to make decisions on when or whether that right should exist.

That included the ability of Vermont to decide that that the right was just about absolute. This legislative session, it became clear that there was no longer a pretext that this was a “pro-choice” decision. Bills were passed that protected abortion above childbirth. 

That was now possible because Dobbs missed the major point, which is why our fight has only just begun.

It missed the fact that a life is a life, no matter how small – and therefore there are, in fact, constitutional rights involved: That bodily integrity means, first and foremost, not being killed. 

I actually disagree with Dobbs, because I think for each one of us, there is a constitutional right to control over our own bodies. But that is not competing with a state interest in “potential” life – it must compete against a constitutional right to life.

Once a pregnancy has begun, there are two people with rights to bodily integrity. That is the issue that no one is willing to recognize and struggle with.

The other missing part of the conversation is about how it is that people become pregnant. 

In the vast majority of cases, it comes from actions chosen by people with the knowledge that there was a risk — even if they believed it was small, they knew they were choosing to take it — that conception of a baby could occur. 

Funny thing, that’s actually the original biological purpose of those actions

Doesn’t that matter? Usually, if you choose a risk, you also accept the potential consequences. 

In this case, you create a new person, with an independent right to bodily integrity — that you gave to it.

Shouldn’t that affect the debate?

So Dobbs pulled us back to pre-Roe. That’s worth celebrating.

But it only brought us back to pre-Roe. It has not solved anything from where the debate stood in 1973. It has not established a right to life.

We’ve been on the defensive since Roe, pushing back against it.

Now we have to begin the fight to move forward.

And we have not yet begun to fight.

The author represents Northfield and Berlin in the Vermont House of Representatives.

Categories: Commentary

9 replies »

  1. Good points all. However, Roe actually recognized fetal personhood (the viability standard) — it’s repeal should have been hailed by Vermont extremists who now have no legal language restricting their “liberty” to slay viable children with horror-show methods. Roe was an overreach even per Ruth Ginsberg–now states can decide for themselves where the legal line should be. Most will reject the extremism of Vermont, itself created by deception: even most Vermonters oppose late-term abortion, but Becca Balint et al foisted a big lie on them that Roe’s repeal somehow threatened their “liberty,” and Prop 5 avoided clarity that it was about ensuring late term abortions as well as experimental hormone therapies on young children. As voters learn the truth (and how much they were lied to), the seas will change. Vermont is simply extreme, even by global standards. It is shameful.

    • And how will voters EVER learn the truths about anything? The mainstream media is biased, unethical, and censors. The free press has largely vanished. Most people are veritable lemmings. And school-aged children are indoctrinated. Some Vermonters are fleeing as we write.

      I’m glad to hear that you’re hopeful. Not me, with each passing day.

      • I agree 100%. Especially here in Vermont with our 3 local tv channels.

  2. The white, liberal feminist thinks of gestating babies the same way that they used to think of their slaves- as property, and not fully human.

  3. Motherhood should be about nurturing life not killing it. Even the animal kingdom have more morals than this. Sad, how so many have lowered their standards on morality and self respect!

  4. You GO Anne! This is a fight to prevent murder so we must not give up. For those uninformed, at the moment of conception, a bright light appears (Possibly God breathing His life into it-what else could it be?). The DNA is also set at that moment so race, color of eyes, physical characteristics are instantly there to grow. I feel that another point needs to be made: For those of current childbearing age, abortion has always been legal since they’ve been around so they think it’s a ‘right’. It’s NEVER been a real right but just a law that opened the door to murder. Let’s call it for what it is.

    • Well, I’m certain in the not-too-distant future, Vermont will allow people to change their race and their height on birth certificates too. I hope so. I personally identify as being tall with blue eyes.

      Vermont. It’s the laughingstock of the USA (for those who bother to pay any attention to us) just as the USA is the laughingstock of much of the rest of the world at this point in time.

  5. The only rights the Dems want to defend involves human sacrificing, the desecration of the sanctity of life, and profiteering from all human misery. They are the party, currently, that is subverting the rule of law and breaking all laws with impunity. They are the party that has destroyed any resemblance of human decency in our society. Consider their leader and their hero, The Biden, and the most unpopular VP in US History, Kamala cacklebird Harris, (Dan Quayle is elated and grateful.) It is obvious the Democrats and their feckless lapdogs, the Progressives, will go down in history as the purveyors and profiteers of death and destruction. Congratulations to them as they collect their participation awards at the gates of Hell.

  6. Democrats have been led by progressives to be miserable people. I grew up in a very democratic family. We were happy and not everything had to be political. You could actually disagree and still be friends. Liberals were turned off by authority and men in suits. They wanted more freedom, not less.

    As I entered my thirties, I started paying attention. I was just married and starting a family. I needed to be more concerned then just for myself. This could be a long story but I’ll get to my point. Somewhere along life’s road, VT was being infiltrated by people who wanted to come here to save the little state and make a name for themself. The more liberals that moved here, the more things started to change. Instead of classic liberalism and freedom, we started to see more restrictions, more laws, more nonprofit organizations and the rise of Bernie from Brooklyn and his cult clan.

    Then we got Circus Smircus, civil unions, the welfare state, more liberals and more restrictions as they were voted into school boards, city councils and state government. The promises were great and the voters all bought in. This is when I became a conservative. The state I loved had been taken over by people not from Vermont, carpetbaggers and interlopers. And people known as layabouts came for the great benefit package that you had to do nothing to get, just sign up. So here we are.

    In a related article 2/3rds of Californians are considering moving out of their state, but they continue to vote for democrats. They continue to vote for the same people who are driving them out of there birth state. The same is happening here. We bitch and complain and argue with one another and the majority still votes for democrats and their progressive leaders, the ones that stole the democratic party out from under them. There are no more classic liberals by the numbers. Their party has been infiltrated by and ruined by out of state progressives. We have all heard of the “Resting Bitch Face”. It is a description of the current, not the classic liberal.

    The democratic party, once the guardian of the working class is now the authoritarian party of all things miserable. As they strip the middle class of their limited wealth, cause more people to be in poverty and as they expand the government with their in your face authority to run every aspect of your life, they deny you of decisions for yourself, tell you how you will heat your home, what you will drive, cook your food with, what kind of light bulbs you can buy, what you can throw in your garbage, what you can’t buy and what you can buy to defend yourself and your family, what kind of bags are okay for you to put your groceries in, they pass laws to kill babies at any stage and make it a constitutional right and laws to kill yourself if you wish. Then invite everyone who wants to die to come to Vermont, the death state. And you continue to vote for the same people who are destroying your freedom and your life. Progressives spread misery! Please let that sink in for a minute. Enjoy your misery as the next year approaches. You will have less money for your family or yourself and 240,000 Vermonters voted for this, 112,000 didn’t. I was one of them. Maybe you should be too.

Leave a Reply