The Vermont Right to Life Political Committee recently announced it recommends pro-life Vermonters choose Libertarian nominee Ericka Redic for Congress over GOP nominee Liam Madden and Democrat nominee Becca Balint.
VRLCPC emphasized that it uses the word ‘recommends’ rather than the stronger term ‘endorses.’ And the party label adheres somewhat loosely to both candidates. Redic is historically a Republican with Libertarian leanings who chose to accept the Libertarian nomination only after the avowed political independent Madden won the GOP nomination in the August 9 primary.
Still, Vermont pro-life voters might wonder why a nominee of the famously pro-choice Libertarian Party got the nod over the nominee from the Republican Party which, alone among Vermont political parties, includes in its Vermont party platform this plank: “We value the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”
While both candidates oppose the proposed federal ban on abortion, they disagree on Article 22, the state’s proposed “reproductive liberty” constitutional amendment. As they stated during a September 15 VTDigger candidate debate, Madden supports Article 22. Redic opposes it. Furthermore, she passionately states her support for crisis pregnancy centers and mourns that as a young woman she had an abortion without knowing CPC help was available.
Redic and Madden state their views, beginning at about the 21:10 mark.
VT Digger: Earlier this week, Senator Lindsey Graham proposed a bill that would ban abortion nationwide at 15 weeks of gestation. Miss Redic, at VTDigger’s Republican primary U.S House debate in June, you said you would not support a federal abortion ban, saying the issue should be left to the states. Is this still your position?
Redic: Yes, it is it is still my position. I think that the reality of the circumstance that we’re in right now is that there are literally hundreds of thousands over a million women every year in the United States who find themselves in a position of being pregnant and not knowing what to do. I was in this position in my early 20s, and being born and raised in Vermont, where you just get taught, because our culture here is such that if you get pregnant out of wedlock and you and your boyfriend is not gonna, whatever, then you just get an abortion. That’s just what you do, and so that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.
Now that I’m older I actually can’t have children, so now I’m going to miss out on the opportunity of motherhood because I didn’t know that there was an organization out there that could help me, not only with my medical care and supplies, but giving me parent coaching, giving the father parent coaching, and helping us work together as a family. That’s why I support organizations like Aspire now that help women in crisis pregnancy, to know that they can choose life, that they can keep that child.
What I want to see, in a place like Vermont where we give over a million dollars to abortion clinics, like a million and a half dollars to abortion clinics, and zero dollars to Pregnancy Resource Centers, what I would love to see is for our state to Reject article 22 to say that abortion up to nine months is not okay. 85 percent of Americans agree.
VTDigger: Mr Madden, at that same June debate you said you would support compromise abortion legislation based on fetal viability. Please describe what a suitable compromise of abortion legislation would mean to you.
Madden: Ericka, I’m so sorry that happened to you. That’s heartbreaking. I’d like to start with some areas of agreement. I agree with Ruth Bader Ginsburg that access to abortion is central to a woman’s dignity. I agree with Justice Ginsburg that this issue is better decided by legislation than by courts. And I agree that the Constitutional grounds for protecting abortion is better rooted in equal protection clause rather than the Roe versus Wade privacy rights argument.
But where I agree with Becca is that I think we agree that 99 percent of abortions happen before a fetus is independently viable, and those should be protected choices, and we agree that the majority of all abortions after that are likely due to the health of the mother being in jeopardy or the fetus being incompatible with life.
So I think we would agree that if we were to allow states to prevent some late-term abortions, excluding the ones that I just mentioned, we would be only preventing an extremely rare instance of elective abortions in the last term, which is probably like less than one in a thousand.
Where we disagree is that I believe it is relevant when a child can live independently of the mother and that provides a moral and legal complexity that deserves attention. Even if elective late term abortions are rare, we provide regulation around all sorts of other rare occurrences when they’re ethically relevant.
This week Becca Balint sent a text message to thousands of Vermonters saying that she needed money because her opponent is anti-choice and at first I was kind of angry about this because I thought it was misleading to say that someone who believes in a constitutional amendment protecting 99% of the choices is not anti-choice.
But I’m thinking about it more, and I’m realizing that I don’t think you actually see that there’s nuance here, Rebecca, and I’m so happy to be a voice for the middle 80% of Vermonters who want a voice in this discussion.