On February 16, 2022

Wording of Prop. 5 is problematic

Dear Editor, The Vermont House has advanced Prop. 5, a proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee a so-called right to “personal reproductive autonomy,” which includes abortion.

While portrayed by advocates as a simple proposal to preserve abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade is overturned, the reality is much different. Unlike Roe v. Wade, Prop. 5 protects late-term, anything-goes abortion.

If Roe v. Wade is struck down, abortion will remain legal in Vermont, even without Prop. 5.

Prop. 5 effectively elevates a man’s rights in the reproductive process onto the same legal level as a woman’s. And, where those rights come into conflict, it will be up to a court – not the woman —to decide what happens.

This scenario and the need for judicial remedy was confirmed in testimony before the House Human Services Committee by a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union.

This is just one of many unintended consequences the vague and frankly bizarre wording of Prop. 5 could unleash on Vermont. Others include eliminating parental rights in regard to children seeking abortion, sterilization or gender therapy, unfettered taxpayer funding for a variety of medical procedures related to reproduction and sexuality, future forms of eugenics such as genetically modified “designer babies,” and creating a legal mandate for nurses and doctors to participate in procedures they may deem medically unwise or ones they morally oppose (or else they could be fired with no legal recourse).

For all these reasons, we believe Vermont voters should and will reject Article 22 on election day.

Matthew Strong, Executive director, Vermonters For Good Government

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