by Carol Kauffman
In a recent blog post, Addison County State Senator Ruth Hardy’s choice of “reproductive justice” words – such as abortion(s), reproductive health care (taxpayer funded), contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy – is problematic because they focus on the “Freedom of Choice Act” intent and not Prop 5/Article 22’s intent.
Do Senator Hardy and Prop 5/Article 22 proponents support the following, so-called, “reproductive justice initiatives” being protected under the proposed State Constitutional amendment?
Act 35 (2017) “This bill proposes to allow minors to consent to mental health treatment for any condition related to the minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity” without a parent or court oversight.
If taken up in 2023, there’s H. 659, “This bill proposes to allow a minor who identifies as a transgender to consent to receiving hormone blockers and other nonsurgical, gender-affirming care and treatment without requiring parental consent” or court protection and oversight.
Also, if taken up in 2023, H630 would “repeal the prostitution laws that currently prohibit ‘indiscriminate sexual intercourse’ and consensual engagement in sex work for hire by adults” starting at 18 years old.
Senator Hardy explains in her blog, “The ‘compelling state interest’ clause imposes the strictest level of legal scrutiny for justifying any attempt to deny reproductive liberty.” Yet, she stays silent on the reality that the state can continue to expand reproductive liberty under Article 22.
Senator Hardy claimed, “The concept of a ‘late-term abortion’ is a fallacy perpetrated by opponents of reproductive liberty to create unfounded fear and confusion.” Why didn’t Act 47(2019) and Prop 5 include viability of life provisions as in Roe vs Wade? The viability of life regarding the unborn, during the later stages of pregnancy, is important to the majority of Americans. Roe vs Wade also made allowances for states to protect parents’ rights and responsibilities regarding the health and welfare of their children unlike Act 47(2019) and Prop 5/Article 22. Thirty-seven states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. Vermont is not one of them.
Why are the Vermont super-majority legislative proponents of Prop 5/Article 22 kicking parents out of the village and pursuing law that allows minors/young adults to make grown-up decisions without court protections and oversight? Let the critical thinking development of the brain mature (the mid to late twenties) before allowing our children to make life-altering decisions.
Vermont law has postponed drinking and smoking until 21 years old.
What’s the hurry with Article 22?
The vagueness of Article 22 goes far beyond what most consider reasonable, without informing Vermonters of the costs to the taxpayers and families or to potential impacts on Vermont’s children.
The author is an Addison resident and president of Vermont Family Alliance.