By Hannah Kolb, President DFL of Vermont
When the people of Vermont go to the polls on November 8, they will have a choice to vote yes or no to Proposal Five, the “Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment.” The proposed amendment was placed on the ballot by a referral from Vermont’s state legislature and reads, “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 sounds just and progressive, but if passed, Prop. Five will enshrine abortion extremism in Vermont’s Constitution and, because of its vague wording, pave the way for even more harm to pregnant women and children.
Proposal Five is wholly unnecessary. In 2019, Vermont passed the Freedom of Choice Act, guaranteeing the right to an abortion regardless of the status of Roe v. Wade. Vermont is one of the most pro-abortion states in the country, according to rankings put out by Americans for Life. There are no gestational limits on abortion in Vermont, and fetal homicide is not even considered a crime. Vermont provides no information about the physical or psychological risks of abortion. There are no parental notification laws, meaning teens in Vermont can get an abortion more easily than they can attend a school field trip. Vermont does not even have conscience protections for healthcare workers who do not want to participate in abortion violence. Equally egregious is that abortion providers do not even have to be licensed in the state, meaning that safety and reporting requirements are lax to the point of negligence. In their zeal to please the abortion industrial complex, Vermont lawmakers have already devalued human life and endanger pregnant women.
Prop. Five codifies unregulated abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. This is more reminiscent of countries like China and North Korea than the American or European mainstream. Common-sense abortion restrictions like gestational limits and parental consent are popular among the vast majority of Americans.
If the people of Vermont ever wanted to, for example, involve parents in teenagers’ reproductive decisions for their own safety and well-being or ensure that babies who can feel pain or survive outside the womb will not be dismembered, this constitutional amendment would override the people’s will and prevent them from doing so. Worse, this amendment is so vaguely worded and “reproductive autonomy” so ill-defined that it could open the door to nullifying age of consent laws. Many other unforeseen consequences could follow.
Voters in the Green Mountain State must reject Prop. Five and its abortion radicalism. The amendment is unnecessary because existing state law already protects abortion to a greater degree than anywhere else in America. It is dangerous because doing away with any and all abortion regulations can cause serious injury or even death for pregnant people. Vermonters deserve better than to be misled by abortion extremism packaged as personal liberty.