Article 22, the Constitutional Amendment being voted on in November guarantees that reproductive choice remains yours, not a government committee’s. Article 22 does not mention abortion. It simply states that reproductive decisions will not be determined by the state government – unless there is “a compelling state interest.” Those decisions include giving birth, sterilization, having an abortion, or using contraception.
Charge: The Article is poorly written and too broad.
Fact: The Article is not a law; it is a broad foundational right, like free speech. Article 22 does not mention abortion because it is not about abortion specifically, it is about the right to make your own decisions involving reproduction. It is written broadly to preserve the fundamental right while allowing for cultural, political, and medical changes.
Charge: Article 22 will enshrine the right to casual abortions right up to birth.
Fact: Article 22 maintains the status quo. There are no Vermont laws prohibiting abortion and haven’t been since 1972, but we are not flooded with “late term” abortions. That is because federal law and medical boards both regulate medical practice. In Vermont any abortion after 21.5 weeks MUST be reviewed and approved by a medical ethics panel. That approval is given only 3-5 times a year at UVM Medical Center and is driven by the health of the mother and viability of the fetus.
Charge: Medical practitioners will be forced to provide abortions against their will.
Fact: Medical practitioners are not and will not be forced to provide abortions. This is longstanding medical practice. In fact, it is probable that as other states limit freedoms, some medical providers will move to Vermont to be able to provide the full spectrum of reproductive medicine to their patients.
Most so-called “late term” abortions which actually occur in the last half of the 40 week gestation period are due to two sad medically determined realities. One is that the life of the mother is at risk or the development of the fetus will not lead to a happy, healthy child.
For those who oppose a pregnancy termination in any case, I wonder if they have the honesty to tell their beloved wives and daughters, who may be pregnant, that their lives are less important than the life of their unborn child.
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