Thoughts on Article 22

In a few weeks we will be asked to vote on Article 22. Proponents have told us that it is necessary to protect the “reproductive rights” (abortion rights) of Vermonters. Yet abortion is already written into Vermont Code (Title 18: Chapter 223 Subchapter 1: Freedom Of Choice Act). So then why do we need a vague and poorly written amendment filled with undefined terms? Consider also, that it is no less vulnerable to being overridden by Federal Law than the existing code, which by the way already allows unrestricted abortion,

What exactly does “personal reproductive liberty” mean? It’s not defined anywhere. Can anyone tell me definitively what it means? Because the writers don’t seem to be able to. Perhaps more concerning, how far does “justified by a compelling State interest” go? It’s not defined in the document. Could it be a compelling state interest to abort anyone determined to likely be handicapped? Force someone on food stamps or other aid to get an abortion? How about sterilization?

Boiled down to it’s most basic, could Article 22 actually be saying “So long as the state has no compelling interest otherwise, citizens will have reproductive autonomy,” as some have suggested? Sounds about right to me.

Article 22 may sound good to the casual glance, but when you really look at it, and consider it, what you find is a can of worms that will benefit no one. And quite possibly cause great harm to the very freedoms we so value.