McDonald: At 9 months, ‘all systems are go’ for a baby

3D printed model of a fetus (Model)

By Pat McDonald

As someone who has always been pro-choice, I have talked to many Vermonters about Prop 5/Article 22, the constitutional amendment on the November ballot. They are supportive because all they hear is that it’s about a woman’s right to do with her body what she will, and how can you say no to that?

But they have second thoughts when they find out that it allows for an on-demand abortion up to and including nine months.

Nine months – think about it a minute. When is a fetus a baby?

I don’t know the answer, but I would think that at nine months at the very least it can be referred to as an unborn baby. All systems are a go – heart, lungs, brain, limbs etc. All the unborn baby needs is one breath of air and it’s off to the races – a new living, breathing member of the human race.

I asked someone from Planned Parenthood about Prop 5 and she assured me that no one in Vermont would have an abortion at nine months. So I asked her why they wrote the amendment to include on-demand abortions through the entire pregnancy. I said, if you wrote the amendment with reasonable limits, more of us would support you. She chose not to answer my question. I took that to mean that this is what Planned Parenthood wanted – just because they could. And you and I know that if it’s available and legal someone will take advantage of it.

Don’t misunderstand me. I support a woman’s right to have an abortion, but only during the first trimester, with some exceptions after that – such as, of course, if the woman’s life is in danger or other tragic circumstances. 

For those who say, “it’s a woman’s right”, I remind you that with every right comes responsibility. You and your partner are responsible for ensuring you do not get pregnant.

There are before, during and after-methods that both you and your partner can take advantage of. Yes, sometimes life plays tricks on us and women find themselves pregnant.

But you wouldn’t know by reading Prop 5/Article 22 that it allows on-demand abortions up to and including nine months. Its language is deceptive because it only focuses on individual rights. I’m not sure in this day-and-age of transparency why it’s worded the way it is – but here we are. I cannot imagine that Vermonters would support this amendment if they knew what the language allows.

Many are upset about the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe vs. Wade and leave it up to the states to regulate abortion. But is this really what Vermont wants as part of its constitution?

I am hoping that Vermonters vote against Prop 5/Article 22 and require the legislature to go back to the drawing board and create a more reasonable proposal – one that mirrors Roe vs. Wade. I have always supported Roe vs. Wade. When it became law, I was glad that women would be able to get a safe abortion because we all know that women are going to get abortions with or without the law being on their side.

Please consider the impact of Prop 5/Article 22 and vote no.  I know many of you consider this a woman’s right – but remember as noted above, with every right comes responsibility. Be responsible and have the legislature create a proposal like Roe vs. Wade that includes appropriate exceptions.

Pat McDonald is a former state representative and in addition to six other appointed positions served as Commissioner of Human Resources for the State of Vermont.  She lives in Berlin.

Categories: Commentary

7 replies »

  1. Whole hearted agree with you, Pat. Blessed are the pregnant women (and men) who choose life and give the child up or adoption or choose to be a parent (parents).

  2. I appreciate that the author focuses on the hidden and unspoken realities of this bill. Its more than “women’s rights” versus ” pro life”. The devil is in the details…

  3. Thanks Pat McDonald, I also support a womans right to choose (with or without her partner)…up thru the 1st trimester. I read the vagueness of this bill, and it really is frightening to think abortion at 6,7,8,9 months with viable fetus (baby..little human) and wonder how or why or who really is behind this…..I really think this is about something we do not even see (harvesting?? future experimentation with cloning? ) sounds crazy yes it does……..but in this world …NOTHING surprises me anymore

  4. I commend Pat McDonald for her courage and willingness to write this letter, knowing that her position and honesty will not make her popular with many of those who erroneously and ignorantly support Article 22. She candidly addresses the elephant on the room, something that I have yet to see anyone else address, but which has troubled me for a long time: why has not one legislator or physician or anyone who supports abortion suggested limits on abortion? If they are concerned about later term abortions, why not earlier? At what magical point do they decide that this preborn baby should live or die based on someone’s choice?

    The reality is that babies who are born prematurely as early as twenty-two weeks are surviving outside the womb and growing into healthy infants. Yes, they have a great fight ahead of the. to survive, but they are many who have. This throws the whole sliding scale notion of viability as a criterion for supporting abortion right out the window.

    For the record, human life begins at the moment of fertilization, and to intentionally destroy the life of that growing, developing person at any point afterwards is flat out wrong. All systems might not be fully “go” early in gestation, but the DNA is there with the info for those systems to develop in their proper time. But age and size of a person has and should never determine whether she lives or dies. If that were the case, why not kill infants because they’re not toddlers; toddlers because they’re not teenagers, and teenagers because they’re not yet adults?

    Cudos to Pat McDonald for raising the questions few have been willing to raise, as well as for recognizing how deceptive and poorly written Article 22 is. But let’s not buy into her faulty premise that anyone ever has the right to kill a preborn based on her stage of development. We are each created in God’s image, and no human ever has the authority, wisdom, or right to decide at what point we can intentionally destroy a defenseless, innocent human life.

  5. My first grandchildren were born in 2021. Identical twin boys , which came six weeks early. They required no extraordinary measures and other than being on the small side initially, there have been absolutely no issues. Today they are healthy happy 17 month old little people running circles(literally) around mom and dad.
    I can’t imagine babies being terminated at 9 months. How is that not murder? If a drunk driver killed a woman who was nine months pregnant couldn’t they be charged with 2 deaths ?

    I thank everyone who is trying to get the truth out. Shame on lawmakers and others who created such a non-transparent bill.

    I was born in VT over sixty years ago and I think if Article 22 passes I will, for the first time in my life, be embarrassed by that fact.

  6. As a candidate for a House seat in the Waterbury-Chittenden district, it’s amazing how many people–especially women–are pushing for Article 22. A volunteer for Reproductive Liberty ballot Committee recently stated how the RLA changes nothing about how abortion care is delivered in Vermont when it’s ALL about that re: making it a constitutional right to “reproductive autonomy” that applies equally to all people; men and women alike. And it will be up to the courts to decide whose rights prevail. If Prop 5 passes, lawmakers will be prohibited from making any law respecting the interests of the unborn child at any time during pregnancy–from conception up until the point of birth @ 9 months.

    Prop 5 would enshrine a right to abortion which is NOT reflective of most people’s values as a recent poll by Harvard/Harris shows that 90% of Americans believe that lawmakers should be able to regulate abortion to some extent after 23 weeks of gestation. Act 47, Vermont’s current abortion law is very clear in its intent in stating; “The State of Vermont recognizes the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion.” So what’s the beef? Opponents of Prop 5 will need to explain their position, because supporters of Prop 5 won’t don’t do that. THEY JUST SHOUT ‘MISINFORMATION’ without ever showing how or why the other side is wrong. VOTE FOR THE SIDE THAT SHOWS THEIR WORK.