Lawmaker asks if Prop 5 gives men equal right to stop abortion. No answer

by Guy Page

Recent testimony before a State House committee suggests a proposed constitutional “right to reproductive autonomy” includes a man’s right to sue to prevent an abortion, a new video by Vermonters for Good Government reveals.

“The potential unintended consequences of this amendment for Vermonters haven’t been fully considered by the legislature, and further public input is clearly warranted before legislators vote.” Vermonters for Good Government spokesperson Annisa Lamberton said.

“Legislators beware! Don’t wake up the day after the election only to find you’ve made a horrible mistake – inventing a right you never intended to create and suffering electoral consequences from voters on both the left and the right as a result,” said Executive Director Matthew Strong.

REP. CARL ROSENQUIST: “It would seem like they would be in conflict if the man wanted the child to be born and not be aborted and the woman said, “No, we’re going to abort the child.” That would seem like a conflict.”

INDI SCHOENHERR (ACLU): We believe it is the woman’s right to do what they want with their body. I think that’s the stance we would take on that. The reproductive autonomy of the gestational parent would come first.

ROSENQUIST: “Who says they come first?”

Vermonters are being told Proposal 5, the so-called Reproductive Liberty Amendment, will preserve a woman’s right to choose, following the guides of Roe v. Wade.  What the vague language Proposal 5 does, however, is give the father of an unborn child a “right to personal autonomy” equal to that of the woman, testimony suggests.

Prop. 5 reads as follows: “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.”

This right applies to everyone equally, men and women, young and old. How this would work in practice was explained during a recent hearing. A spokesperson from the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, in testimony before the House Human Services Committee, was asked what happens when the man’s right to reproductive autonomy conflicts with that of the woman under Proposal 5. The full exchange is as follows:

REP CARL ROSENQUIST (R-GEORGIA): Can you explain to me what a biological man’s right to personal reproductive autonomy looks like, and what the ACLU would do to defend that right, and what happens when a man’s right to personal reproductive autonomy conflicts with a woman’s right to personal reproductive autonomy regarding the same unborn child? Whose right prevails, and under what legal, constitutional basis under Proposal 5?

INDI SCHOENHERR (ACLU): … Each case is unique, and the facts are decided— The case is, is— Each case is unique as I’m saying, and the facts of those cases vary, so I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to comment or, like, come up with a theoretical example of where— where these reproductive liberties would be in conflict.

REP ROSENQUIST: It would seem like they would be in conflict if the man wanted the child to be born and not be aborted and the woman said, “No, we’re going to abort the child.” That would seem like a conflict.

INDI SCHOENHERR (ACLU): We believe it is the woman’s right to do what they want with their body. I think that’s the stance we would take on that. The reproductive autonomy of the gestational parent would come first.

REP ROSENQUIST: Who says they come first? [The language of Proposal 5 does not clearly specify a hierarchy of rights. Under Proposal 5 there is no distinction of priority of “an individual’s right.”]

REP PUGH (COMMITTEE CHAIR): My understanding is that when rights are in conflict, we go to court, and that is the role of the courts to decide, or a judge. So, what I’m asking – would I be correct in responding to Representative Rosenquist to say, what you are presenting is a conflict of rights. And where historically this country has gone when there are conflicts of rights is we go to court, and we have confidence in the courts’ decisions. Would I be correct in that response?

INDI SCHOENHERR (ACLU): Yes. That is the correct response. Yes.

Vermonters for Good Government have turned this exchange into an abbreviated video, to highlight the potential unintended outcome of Proposal 5.

Prop 5 doesn’t give a woman the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. If challenged, it gives that decision – on a case-by-case basis — to the courts, and the language of Proposal 5 gives the man an equally protected right of personal reproductive autonomy to the woman.

Proposal 5 elevates the personal reproductive rights of the father to the same plane as that of the mother. And, where those rights conflict, a judge or a jury will decide whether the mother will carry the baby to term or not.

You can watch the new Vermonters for Good Government video here:

You can watch the full exchange on YouTube here (12:29 – 16:07):

 Vermonters for Good Government, a 501c4, was formed by individuals across the political spectrum to oppose the inclusion of Article 22/Proposal 5 in the state constitution.  For more information, contact either: Spokesperson Annisa Lamberton:, or Executive Director Matthew Strong:

Source material for this article includes a Vermonters for Good Government press release.

Categories: Life&Death

Tagged as: , , ,

13 replies »

  1. I’ve read from different studies that miscarriages are up 3oo too 400% by those vaccinated. So chances are, man or woman, the right to an abortion or not, as in, right to life, has been taken from the equation for many. I know this is somewhat off topic, but I read these studies a few days back and couldn’t believe this vaccine is still being pushed so hard especially when you add on all the other known complications.

  2. The brutal legalization of ripping apart limb by limb of a little baby girl is what is being voted on. How can this be happening?

  3. Rep. Pugh is probably right in predicting what a court would do. Probably. The fact is that this proposed amendment is so poorly worded that it raises more questions than it answers. For that reason alone, it should not pass.

  4. It is a huge problem to use vague wording in legislation let alone a constitution! Vague language to hide the intent from the voters with the result of unintended consequences. We need government FOR THE PEOPLE not government driving by ideology and personal gain. The good of the other is absent from government today much to our determent.

  5. I’m all for it. Between this and the slavery / indentured servitude changes, women will no longer be able to lie about their fertility and trap men into fatherhood & 20 years of child support, or even alimony. About time.

  6. Here we have an attorney from the Vermont ACLU testifying in favor of Prop 5, who apparently has little to no understanding of the legal or constitutional issues inherent in the proposed amendment……When questioned by the Committee Chair, ACLU Attorney Schoenherr admits that Prop 5 could create a conflict between the mother and father in the case of an abortion that would require the matter to be litigated in court.

    Is this the type of amendment, one that creates conflicts and litigation between mothers and fathers that the people of Vermont want added to the State’s Constitution?……What happens to the baby, while litigation drags on in court for months?

    Has anyone under the Golden Dome given Prop 5 any serious thought whatsoever?

  7. How about this reverse scenario; the mother wants to carry the baby to term BUT the father insists upon his reproductive rights to abort his “reproduction” prior to birth? Would it not be his Constitutional right to argue that his “personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed”? This is the most ill thought out law I have ever read. The unintended repercussions are plentiful and now these same brilliant folks are trying to legislate workaround bills that will, if Prop 5 is passed, be deemed unconstitutional when challenged.

    • It’s not “…ill thought out…” Prop 5 was designed to confuse, destabilize, disenfranchise…you name it–from the pit of hell masquerading as a ‘right’ run amok. It behooves us to consider chucking our de facto government once and for all. It has no right to exist.

  8. And this is what our legislators are doing this year..for almost 6 months of a 12 month budget. Unbelievable …you also have a bill to put people in jail for “threatening” or potentially doing so; school board members or other groups such as …We Already Have Laws in Place for This…..use them! I just cant believe what is happening in Montpelier and up…..there is NO COMMON SENSE LEFT in this State and no wonder with what has “trickled down from above”……Wow just no way to make sense of any of this……..Leave the Constitution alone, vote these people, all of them OUT

  9. This is reminiscent of Vermont’s proposed Equal Rights Amendment of 1986, which was also vague and poorly worded. That concept seemed obvious (women should be treated the same as men) but the text was so unspecific that it was open to myriad misinterpretations. Had it been implemented, it might easily have done far more harm than good to those it was intended to protect. What WAS clear was that neither lawyers, judges, nor attorneys general could agree on how it might be interpreted. As a result, the proposed amendment was defeated.

    And that was regarding a principle which had nearly universal support! But Prop 5’s underlying purpose (unrestricted abortion regardless of any other legislation) is seen as morally and ethically repugnant by a large percentage of our population. The vague responses by the ACLU lawyer – as if a parent’s desire to protect the child had not even been considered – are disturbing. And the “solution” of referring to a judge every case where two parents disagree would seem to solve nothing.

    To any respecter of life, two things are clear: Children in the womb should not die. This proposal should.

  10. Many have addressed the fact that Proposition 5 is vaguely written. This is the specific intent of those pushing it. They won’t be satisfied with whatever the outcome would be if it is passed and then they would use their Supermajority and liberal judges to further destroy our Constitution.
    Far too many think this is an ” Abortion Bill. ” It is far more horrific in many ways.
    These people aren’t content with destroying the unborn, they are all in on the destruction of children. This change would provide for the State to take your child if the child decides they want to change genders. Your Parental Rights would become criminalized if you fought for your child.
    Then the State would provide for chemical and physical destruction of your child thru whatever medical procedure the State chose. It also removes all criminal penalties for anyone that provides an abortion. There would be no legal penalties for anyone providing an abortion. And under the language in this Bill there is no requirement for any provider to have a Medical degree. Joe the Butcher could hack up the Baby. This has nothing to do with any Civil Rights or responsibilities. It is evil. It is the definition of the destruction of the Family unit.

Leave a Reply