By Dave Andrusko
While a lot of attention has rightly focused on pro-abortion militants in New York and Virginia and Illinois and Rhode Island, the Democratically controlled legislature in Vermont is bound and determined not to play second fiddle to any abortion extremist.
On Tuesday, in a pincher-like move, the House and Senate moved to “protect” abortion rights on two fronts.
Following in the footsteps of the state Senate which passed Proposal 5 last month on a vote of 28-2, the Vermont House “voted 106-38 for a constitutional amendment that would give Vermonters a fundamental right to kill a fetus at any stage of pregnancy up until the moment of birth, unless infringement of that right is ‘justified by a compelling State interest,’” according to Michael Bielawski.
Proposal 5 would add this language to the Vermont Constitution: “That 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.”
But according to Sharon F. Toborg, Policy Analyst for Vermont Right to Life, “Proposal 5 is not Roe v. Wade. It would be interpreted by State courts in light of the discussions and deliberations that took place around its passage. It is clear from the testimony around Prop 5 (and the contemporaneous passage of H. 57), that the intent of Prop 5 is to protect an unlimited right to abortion throughout pregnancy.”
What about the “compelling state interest” language? Mary Beerworth, executive director of Vermont Right to Life, told NRL News Today, “When asked by Legislative Committees what might constitute a ‘compelling state interest’ under Proposal 5, witnesses from Legislative Counsel and the Attorney General’s office would not speculate, and certainly did not suggest, that it includes an interest in prenatal life at any stage of development.”
In Vermont, to become part of the state Constitution, Proposal 5 must pass both houses again in 2022 and then be on the ballot in November and win majority approval.
Also (in this case following the House’s lead), the Senate by a vote of 24-6, approved H.57 “that would create a state law guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion,” the Associated Press reported.
More specifically, the “ bill would prohibit governmental interference with access to abortion, and it also ‘recognizes the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child or to have an abortion,’” Mike Faher reported.