Kelly: “No” on Article 22 keeps gender fluidity out of the courts and away from the lawyers

by Tom Kelly

In a recent letter, Roxanne Voight of Weybridge and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, laments the Dodds decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade and sent the abortion issue back to the statesVoight asks readers to vote “yes” in November on Article 22, which would enshrine in our state constitution a right to “personal reproductive autonomy.”  

Tom Kelly

While I am pro-life, I ask all voters, wherever they stand on the issue, to take a closer look and vote “No.”  Tinkering with the constitution by adding vague, undefined terms invites unelected judges to interpret the vague undefined terms.  

The drafters of Article 22 intentionally refrained from explicitly using the word “abortion.”  Why?  Because with vagueness comes a need for interpretation by unelected judges spurred by lawsuits filed by clever lawyers; the resulting interpretations of Article 22 will take the law into unknown territory – perhaps, for example, creating a condition for medical licensure forcing doctors and others to participate in abortions or risk forfeiting their licenses or prohibit licensure of pregnancy resource centers for failing to offer abortions.  

Who knows what else in this “gender-fluid” age in which we live?  

The proponents have admitted as much. According to Vermonters for Good Government, Vermont State Senator Ginny Lyons, D-Chittenden said in 2019, “It [reproductive autonomy] will allow for the [Vermont] Supreme Court interpretation, going further, on these things coming up in the future.”  And Brynn Hare, Legislative Council said, “Well, I think, you know, as I’ve said before, the court will interpret the extent to which the right to personal reproductive autonomy, the extent to what that protects.”  

The amendment is not only dangerously vague but also unnecessary, given the current state of Vermont law.  Vermont simply has no restrictions on abortion.  The overturning of Roe does not impact access to abortion in Vermont.  In fact, Vermont has a statute, Act 47 (found in Title 18, Chapter 223) which explicitly prohibits any restrictions on abortion.  Any proposed Vermont abortion restriction (whether parental notification, age limits, restrictions on late-term abortion or outright prohibition) would not only require some legislation, but presumably Act 47 would first need to be repealed.  

It is noteworthy – Act 47 explicitly mentions “abortion” which the proposed constitutional amendment does not.  Obviously, those proposing to amend the constitution want to go beyond abortion into unknown territory.  Vermonters should vote NO on Article 22.  The amendment is not only unnecessary it creates a Pandora’s Box of consequences to be determined by the courts in the years and decades to come.

The author is a Barre City resident, candidate for the Vermont House of Representatives, former Washington County State’s Attorney, and coordinator of Barre’s annual 40 Days for Life, a prayer vigil for the unborn at risk of abortion.    

Categories: Commentary

5 replies »

    • 20 weeks is 5 months, why would a woman need 5 months to determine whether she wants an abortion. At 5 months, the baby is well on its way to being a viable birth. I just don’t understand the lack of conscience in people who find this okay. There are all kinds of contraceptives and a morning after pill. Be thankful you had a life, and your mother didn’t decide to throw you away. Isn’t that what it is? Like people who can drown a bag full of kittens or puppies. Then walk away and forget they just killed something. It just disgusts me.

  1. Many liberals are convinced the wording means what they think/want it to mean. They refuse to consider how it could be interpreted or what the scope could be. The potential is there to make anything associated with sex legal.

  2. Any vote that will change and or has the chance of changing the Vermont State Constitution and or the United States Constitution is a Big No Vote from me. Brian Judd Candidate for State Rep. for Barre City.

  3. Thank you Tom For once again laying out the dangers of Article 22 .I will always vote NO when it comes to changing the Vermont Constitution or our
    U.S Constitutional Rights.

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