By Guy Page
Proposal 5, the proposed Vermont Constitutional amendment to establish unrestricted abortion, is meant to tie the hands of future legislatures who might want to build safeguards into Vermont abortion law, an expert policy analyst says.
It would prevent changes to a law passed in 2019 “put into Vermont statute that abortion is legal, unrestricted, unregulated throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy,” Vermont Right to Life Policy Analyst Sharon Toborg said April 30 on the public access television program “Focus,” hosted by Margaret Hamilton. The following is excerpted from the 30-minute video:
“That legislative initiative came out of some meetings held between Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, some key legislators who met with the Attorney General and staff from the Attorney General’s office for months throughout the summer of 2018 to create this language for legislation, to put abortion into Vermont statute as well as to follow up with this constitutional amendment.
“The main purpose of this constitutional amendment is really to prevent any future legislature from changing what was passed in H57, which became known as act 47, of the Legislature.
“The Legislature voted in 2019 for unrestricted unregulated abortion. The legislature rejected every proposed amendment that would have eliminate limited abortion, including limits on late-term abortion requiring a parent to be notified if a minor was seeking an abortion, health and safety regulations for abortion facilities, and many more amendments that would have put limits on abortion throughout pregnancy.
“They were all rejected by the Legislature.
“So that language went into Vermont statute and now what they’re trying to do is amend the Vermont Constitution to make sure that a future Legislature cannot change the law on abortion in Vermont.”
PR5 passed the Vermont Senate April 9 by a 26-4 vote. Those voting no were Ingalls and Starr of Essex/Orleans counties and Collamore and Terenzini of Rutland County. It is now in the House Human Services Committee. If approved by the House (as is considered likely), it will be decided at a public, statewide referendum on Election Day in November, 2022.