Pro-choice but opposed to late-term abortions? Vote no on Article 22

by Dr. Daniel Bean

Should Article 22 not pass, Vermont will still have abortions and even late-term abortions. That is guaranteed in our current laws, and has been since 1970s.

All the talk about Roe vs Wade decision changing this is false. What Article 22 is intended to do is to enshrine late-term abortions, right up to birth, in our Constitution. Once there it will be almost impossible to change or remove. Voting NO will allow for future changes to the period for abortions.

Vote NO to keep our options available in the future, and not leave them up to our Supreme Court. Almost 90 per cent of Americans do not want Late-Term abortion.

There are other ramifications to Article 22.

Currently, institutions (hospitals, clinics, etc.) may establish conscientious protection statements to allow employees to decline to perform abortions for religious or other reasons, and medical associations, etc. may establish best practices policies. Article 22 could be used to force doctors and other health providers to perform abortions and sterilizations, and other medical procedures, even against their best medical judgment.

Article 22 will prohibit any entity from having such provisions or making such decisions. It could even be used to force the closure of pregnancy counseling agencies such as CareNet or Aspire, etc. since their counseling might result in a decision not to abort. Under Article 22 this decision would be up to the courts to decide.

If Article 22 passes and becomes part of our Constitution abortions will become a “constitutional right”. All the procedures covered by Article 22 will be subject to payment by tax payer money.

As a “constitutional right” the cost of this to the budget may not be limited during budget considerations. The cost must be met. There does not appear to have been any consideration by the legislature of potential future costs during their debate of Article 22.

Since any decisions regarding the interpretation will be made by the five members of the VT Supreme Court they could very well extend those payments to cover out-of-state patients. The legislature did not meet its fiduciary responsibilities in writing this bill.

Article 22 avoids using terms such as “Woman/women,” “abortions,” “choice,” “age limits.” The phrase “individual’s right” is a legal term indicating no age limit applies; it is anyone from birth to death. That wording choice strips parents of their role as guardian of their children. Article 22 will deny them the right to know of, or act against any choice a child may make about their “reproductive” status.

“Personal right,” on the other hand, implies anyone of legal age only and protects the underage from exploitation. Making an informed decision about changing sex, or gender orientation is an irreversible decision and must be made with as much information as possible. Article 22 actually prevents this exchange of information to its fullest extent. The word “individual” was a deliberate choice by the legislature.

In October 2021 the Legislature issued an apology for the passage in 1931 of the Vermont Sterilization Law which provided for the sterilization of individuals deemed unfit to procreate. VT was not alone, there were 30 other states with similar laws. All have since been rescinded, some as late as the 1970s.

If Article 22 is enshrined in the constitution and it is later deemed desirable to change parts of it, that may well be impossible. It would require another amendment. Vote No on Article 22 and retain our rights to control our laws and not allow the courts to become our lawmakers.

The author is a Shelburne resident and Biology Professor Emeritus.

Categories: Commentary

4 replies »

  1. With all due respect, doctor, I’m against Article 22 as well. But your legal reasoning misdirects our necessary attention to the matter.

    Again. Article 22 does nothing except to ensure that ‘a compelling State interest’ is the final authority in any and all disagreements involving ‘reproductive liberty’. And that’s not just abortion. It’s anything ‘reproductive’. And ‘reproductive’ is, according to the text of Article 22, as yet undefined. Let your imagination run. Article 22 language could be construed to be anything sexual.

    And no – if Article 22 passes, it will not be ‘almost impossible to change or remove’ it. Constitutional amendments can, and have been, repealed before. It will be just as easy to repeal as it is to pass in the first place.

    But as to your ‘other ramifications: you are, indeed, correct. According to the language in Article 22 – anything goes… as long as there is ‘a compelling State interest’.

    The reason to vote NO on Article 22 is to finally stop abdicating our responsibility to consider the constitutional rights of an unborn fetus. Do the unborn have constitutional rights? If so, when do they take effect? And what limitations are there, for example, when a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother or the unborn child? Or when rape or incest caused the pregnancy?

    As it is now, before Article 22, a pregnant woman can have an abortion at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. I, personally, find this status to be repugnant. I think the rights of the unborn need to be considered. And I look forward to this task, difficult as it may be to come to a constitutional consensus.

    We should vote NO on Article 22. And then get to work being responsible citizens, instead of constantly sweeping this issue under the political rug.

  2. I am opposed to Article 22, and will vote NO! There are several concerns, as discussed here. What really concerns me is that I sense that for many people, maybe the majority, it is strictly an emotional issue for them. It appears to be “tagged” as “MY Rights!”, without many not even reading it, and/or, understanding it.

  3. We need to explain to Vermonters that there is already an abortion law that is as passed in 2019 so you have “Your rights”! All nine months!!! Give me a break!!! I believe there are abortion rights in the Vt constitution already. In the state of Georgia, Stacy Abrams (gov. Candidate) is trying to connect abortion rights to inflation, (if you can’t pay your bills or heat your house—-have an abortion). Really—they are pushing Eugenics!!! Make a better Vermonter-get rid of the working poor—-phase them out by aborting all their babies!!! They don’t care if you have a religious objection or will have mental health issues for the rest of your life—they will have control over you-which is the power they seek. And the children!!!! Please for the school age children of Vermont —-don’t pass this article because if you take this article literally it will have children deciding without parental consent to take body altering hormones and puberty blockers that will most likely sterilize them and then have body mutilating surgeries- which means they can never go back to their original state!!! Remember this article states “an individuals personal reproductive autonomy— anyone, any age.

    And if this article does pass then probably there will be Christian doctors and nurses who will be asked to perform or asked to assist on late term abortions (remember planned parenthood runs UVMMC and it sounds like CVMC now too), and if they refuse to, they probably will have their licenses in Vermont taken away. The Christian doctors and nurses are our soul- please stand with them, please vote NO on article 22. Donna

  4. Democrats don’t consider killing on the streets an issue in November, but are concerned that the right to kill an embro, fetus, baby in the womb will be taken away from them…Abort Article 22!

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