by Carol Kaufmann
On May 3rd, Governor Scott promised in a public statement, “The fundamental rights and liberties of all women will be defended, protected and preserved in Vermont”. Governor Scott referenced Act 47 (2019) which codified women’s reproductive rights without government interference. Therefore, if the Supreme Court’s final decision is to send Roe back to the states, Vermont will continue to offer abortions from conception up to birth. Abortion rights are not in jeopardy in Vermont.
Governor Scott also stated, “And Vermonters will have the opportunity to solidify this right in November when Prop. 5 amending Vermont’s constitution is on the ballot.”
Governor Scott continues to promulgate his perception of Prop 5/Article 22 and not its reality. In November, the voters of Vermont will vote on the following text;
“Sec. 2. Article 22 of Chapter I of the Vermont Constitution is added to read: Article 22. [Personal reproductive liberty] 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.” Prop 5/Article 22 is not specific to “woman” or “abortion” as Governor Scott and others claim.
The so-called “Reproductive Liberty” amendment, is dangerously vague and leaves minors unprotected. Constitutional law has no age restrictions.
Prop 5/Article 22 would erode the rights of parents and remove protections for children.
Prop 5/Article 22 could allow unknown adults to usurp the role of parents
Prop 5/Article 22 could mean that children can consent to elective abortions, hormone blockers, or other permanent procedures without parental knowledge as introduced in current House Bill 659 (2022)
Prop 5/Article 22 could allow minors to be transported across state lines into Vermont to access “reproductive autonomy” rights.
Prop 5/Article 22 court challenges will cripple Vermonters with astronomical legal costs.
The vagueness of Prop 5/Article 22 goes far beyond what most consider reasonable, without informing Vermonters of the costs to the taxpayers and families or to potential impacts on Vermont’s children.
How will Governor Scott and the Vermont state government protect the rights and responsibilities of parents to care for their children under Prop 5/Article 22?
The author is executive director of the Vermont Family Alliance.