By Melissa Ohden
As the survivor of a failed late-term, saline infusion abortion at 31 weeks of gestation (that’s nearly eight months along) it makes me physically ill that Vermont could become an abortion tourism destination for such procedures should Article 22 pass this November.
Article 22 is the proposed amendment that would enshrine in the Vermont Constitution an unrestricted right to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. If the voters of Vermont don’t vote this down, the Vermont legislature would be constitutionally prohibited from passing any law that could restrict abortion, regulate abortion procedures, or protect the unborn in any way at any point in their development.
This is not where most Vermonters, even those who consider themselves pro-choice, are when it comes to abortion policy. In two recent polls, one national and one focused on California voters, just 10 and 13 percent of people respectively were okay with unrestricted abortion up until the point of birth. Roughly 90% of humans agree, including the authors of Roe v. Wade, that some restrictions on abortion should exist at some point, at least after the unborn child is viable outside the womb.
But this kind of common sense and compassionate regulation would be unconstitutional in Vermont should Article 22 pass, and, as such, people from around the country would flock here to get and to perform such procedures free from legal interference or punishment. This is not speculative on my part; it is by design as admitted to by supporters of Article 22.
In a June 23 story by WCAX, “Will Vermont become abortion haven post Roe v. Wade,” the reporter asked Professor Jared Carter of Vermont Law School, Do you anticipate there will be an uptick in abortion circumvention tourism? Carter answered, “I think that’s likely here in Vermont, particularly because New Hampshire, a bordering state, recently passed restrictions on abortion after 24 weeks.”
Twenty-four weeks is six months along, and the New Hampshire laws Carter refers to do, in fact, allow for abortion after 24 weeks when a mother’s life or health is at risk or when a fatal fetal anomaly “incompatible with life” exists, meaning the infant won’t survive outside the womb. So, what the law professor is saying is, yes, people will be travelling to Vermont to get abortions in the third trimester, after the baby is viable and there are no health issues in play for either the baby or the mother because this will be perhaps the only place in America where such a radically horrific policy is allowed.
A May 5 article in VT Digger cited Lauren MacAfee, an OB-GYN with the University of Vermont Medical Center, who said she also expects to see a rise in out-of-state patients, a prediction echoed in the article by Lucy Leriche of Planned Parenthood.
More than just expecting abortion tourists to show up, the current Democratic candidate for governor is campaigning on a proposal to use Vermont taxpayer funds to help cover the cost of out-of-state abortions seekers. Late term abortion tourism is not just an unfortunate biproduct of Article 22, it’s part of the plan.
I was a perfectly healthy developing baby in the womb of a perfectly healthy young mother. My biological mother, over seven months along in her pregnancy, was pressured by her own mother – a nurse, no less – to abort the pregnancy. The method they chose for doing so was a toxic saline injection into the amnionic fluid surrounding me. This toxic salt solution was intended to scald me to death from the outside in. After five days of floating in that toxic salt solution, the doctors induced labor. I was supposed to be born dead, but I miraculously survived. Countless others like me do not.
Please don’t let Vermont be the place that endorses, celebrates, subsidizes, and protects late term abortion up to the point of birth. Being pro-choice does not mean you have to sign on to this. Article 22 goes way too far. Please vote No, either on the ballot you get in the mail or when you go to the polls on November 8th.
The author was a speaker at the Life Symposium sponsored by Vermont Right to Life last fall. Melissa Ohden, MSW
is Founder & CEO of the Abortion Survivors Network, Kansas City Missouri.