Life&Death

House vote on Prop 5 as soon as Friday

Governor can’t veto proposed change to state constitution, but Nov. 8 voters canand it happened in 1986

By Guy Page

The Vermont House of Representatives may vote on Prop 5, the proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion without restrictions, as soon as this Friday.

Today’s House Calendar reads, under the Notice Calendar headline, “Second Day of Four Legislative Days Notice Pursuant to Rule 51a. Prop 5 Declaration of rights; right to personal reproductive liberty.”

Vermont House Rule 51A says “If voted out of committee, the proposal [to amend the constitution] will appear on the Notice Calendar for four legislative days and be up for Action on the fifth legislative day.” Wednesday and Thursday will be days three and four. Therefore Prop 5 will be “up for action” on Friday.

Action is considered likely, as the Speaker of the House – zealous Prop 5 supporter and former Planned Parenthood lobbyist Jill Krowinski – has promised a House decision in February. 

Constitutional amendments must be approved by both House and Senate in consecutive bienniums. Both chambers approved Prop 5 in the 2019-2020 biennium, and the Senate approved it in 2021. The House vote is the final step before the Legislature. 

Krowinski holds the gavel in the House. But it’s up to voters to render the final decision.

If approved by majority vote, Prop 5 will not face the possibility of a gubernatorial veto. But it will face a possible ‘veto’ by voters at a statewide referendum at the November 8 general election. Here’s what happens after House approval, according to an April, 2019 document prepared by Legislative Counsel:

 If passed by both chambers in both bienniums, the Governor must provide public notice of the proposed amendment by proclamation. Vt. Const. Ch. II, § 72.

17 V.S.A. § 1844 requires the Secretary of State to publish the proposal and a summary thereof in at least two newspapers having general circulation in the State. These publications must occur once each week for three successive weeks.

This statute also requires the proposal to be published on the websites of the General Assembly and of the Office of the Secretary of State for the same duration as the newspaper publications.

The proposal is then submitted to the voters of the State for ratification; voters must ratify by majority vote. Vt. Const. Ch. II, § 72. 17 V.S.A. § 1842 requires this vote to occur at the general election.

Prop 5 would amend the Vermont Constitution’s Section 1 – the section dealing exclusively with individual rights – for the first time since 1786. It would add Article 22: “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.”

Its critics say the language is vague – perhaps intentionally so – and would permit not only unrestricted abortion but abuses such as:

  1. Deprivation of health care workers freedom of conscience
  2. Unrestricted funding of all abortion-related practices
  3. Unrestricted abortion of Down Syndrome babies and other babies deemed less than perfect.
  4. Tying the hands of future legislatures to require parental notification, ultrasound viewing, and other measures meant to guide the abortion process. 

Supporters say the amendment is needed because the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn Roe V. Wade. They say all of the questions and difficulties will be worked out by the courts. 

Although Section 1 of the Constitution hasn’t ever been amended, it’s not for lack of trying by activists.  A Vermont Equal Rights Amendment was on the November 4, 1986 ballot in Vermont as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment – where it was defeated, according to Ballotpedia.

The Vermont State Legislature enacted the proposed constitutional amendment as Proposal 1 of 1983, sending it to the voters, Ballotpedia said. Section 22 of Chapter I of the Vermont Constitution would have been amended by this proposal, if it had passed.

Madeline Kunin was re-elected as governor in 1986, but lost the ERA she passionately supported by a 49-51% margin. An Associated Press story from 1986 quotes Nancy Stringer, Nancy Stringer, director of the opposing Vermont ERA Information Committee, saying the defeat would allow Vermont ″to continue our traditions and freedoms and rights as we always have.″

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13 replies »

  1. What type of morally depraved society allows full term babies to be murdered to protect the bodily autonomy of the mother. What about the bodily atonomy of a full term baby.

  2. Evil has overtaken this state. And it is up to the electorate to see to it that right prevails over might, that goodness overcomes the diabolical. In the end, we know God wins and God lives within each of us.

  3. I’m wondering if anyone has any insight into how this amendment could affect issues besides abortion. The vagueness of the wording really does concern me. I’m particularly concerned with how this could affect children. It’s already been pointed out that it would block parental notification bills regarding abortion. The wording refers to “an individual”, with no restrictions or qualifications based on age. So could this amendment also be used to block parental consent, or any other type of restrictions, on “gender affirming care” for children? I’m referring to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which are by their nature sterilizing, and castrations and mastectomies, which is the surgical removal of body parts related to reproduction. It is already the case in some states in this country, such as Washington, that parental notification is not required for doctors to proceed with these types of treatments on minors.

    • Guy posted an article about your concerns today. Your not tuition is spot on.

      By Guy Page

      A bill introduced by a freshman Progressive Tanya Vyhovsky (Essex) and Winooski Rep. Taylor Small (Progressive/Democrat), who identifies as transgender, would allow a minor to receive medical treatment for transgender conversion without parental consent.

      H659 “proposes to allow a minor who identifies as transgender to consent to receiving hormone blockers and other nonsurgical, gender-affirming care and treatment without requiringparental consent.”

      The bill cites information from the Trevor Project that 42% of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in 2021, and that transgender conversion therapy reduced the likelihood of teen suicide.

      The bill contains no age limit. “Consent under this section shall not be subject to disaffirmance due to minority of the individual providing consent. The consent of the individual’s parent or guardian shall not be necessary to authorize the minor’s access to legally authorized nonsurgical, gender-affirming care or treatment,” the bill says.

      • I saw that article right after making my comment. It was pretty spooky. I’ve been worried about this for a while. I guess I’m not surprised to see it happening in VT, but still really upsetting.
        There is another recently introduced bill that would allow people to change the gender on their birth certificates, just by saying they feel like the opposite gender. And another that I can’t find the text for which proposes a transgender bill of rights for public schools. I guess I can’t really say without reading the bill, but my feeling is that that in combination with the gender affirming care bill will result in even more kids being funneled into medically approved disfigurement. I honestly have no problem with people expressing themselves as they want and breaking gender stereotypes, but these kind of laws will a) do irreparable harm to children, b) eliminate parental rights, and c) eliminate women’s rights to have their own spaces. I’ve never gotten involved in state politics before, but between this and abortion I’m really feeling ready to put up a fight.

  4. I’m wondering if anyone has any insight into how this amendment could affect issues besides abortion. The vagueness of the wording really does concern me. I’m particularly concerned with how this could affect children. It’s already been pointed out that it would block parental notification bills regarding abortion. The wording refers to “an individual”, with no restrictions or qualifications based on age. So could this amendment also be used to block parental consent, or any other type of restrictions, on “gender affirming care” for children? I’m referring to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which are by their nature sterilizing, and castrations and mastectomies, which is the surgical removal of body parts related to reproduction. It is already the case in some states in this country, such as Washington, that parental notification is not required for doctors to proceed with these types of treatments on minors.

  5. Two things the left is leaning on:
    1) That the votors who they keep telling me that they “believe in” remain ignorant of what the implications of said Prop.5 holds
    and
    2) the Dominion voting machines that our state govt. assures us are safe and reliable.

    Both things should scare the willies out of you! Notice which states are mentioned in this article on voting optical scanning machines:

    https://www.wickedlocal.com/story/the-beacon/2021/12/15/acton-replacing-13-year-old-voting-machines-vulnerable-hacking/8894082002/

  6. If this passes we need to remove Freedom and Unity as our moto. There will be no Life, Liberty or Pursuit of Happiness for the unborn. This will not unity us. We can also change our license plate moto from, The Green Mountain State to Vermont, The Abortion State. We will be mocked by most of the country. Evil flourishes when good people do nothing. This is an evil amendment that has no place in our constitution. We have contraceptives, failing to use them is not an excuse to kill an unborn human baby. Their are plenty of people who see it as an inconvenience, I have another word for it.

  7. Those that support Prop 5 sure are concerned about what decision a 5 year old child wants. To the point of making it illegal for the Parents to have any control over what the ” State ” decides is best for the child.
    Prop 5 is much more horrific than an abortion Bill.
    It is specifically written to be obscure so any liberal Judge can make the final decision of whether your 5 year old can be mutilated chemically or physically.
    Doesn’t it seem more than a little hypocritical when these people pretend to care about the children, but fight every attempt to protect the unborn ?
    They will gladly stand with someone who hacks a Baby to pieces, but they want you to believe they care for the kids.

  8. Careful ladies, you won’t be able to force men into fatherhood & child support payments by lying about your fertility anymore…

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