Fighting against Article 22, a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion on demand throughout pregnancy in Vermont

By Dave Andrusko 

Last post of the day but a very important one. The topic is Vermont’s Article 22, the proposed amendment that would enshrine in the Vermont Constitution an unrestricted right to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. “If the voters of Vermont don’t vote this down, the Vermont legislature would be constitutionally prohibited from passing any law that could restrict abortion, regulate abortion procedures, or protect the unborn in any way at any point in their development,” according to Melissa Ohden,  who survived a saline abortion at 31 weeks in 1977.

As Rep. Anne Donahue wrote, “We know a majority of Vermonters do not support third trimester abortions, yet the state is being flooded with two messages: that this amendment is necessary to preserve the rights “lost” by the overturning of Roe v Wade (totally false, given Vermont’s current laws! See Act 47), and Vermonters are being told that elective third terms abortions don’t happen. When people recognize those are not accurate statements, many shift their position and are ready to vote, “no.” Getting enough of those shifts is not an insurmountable challenge, but is getter harder and harder.”

But if are to believe a nurse from the University of Vermont Medical Center writing a Commentary, “The intent of Article 22 is to preserve the status quo of abortion access/care as it stands right now.” In one word, no. Or, in three words, that’s not true. And that is also not true for conscience protections in particular.

They do late—real late—abortions at UVMC. The nurse insists that “There is a written policy that states that any employee can object to participating in providing care on the basis of moral, religious or ethical grounds.”

A civil suit was filed by a different nurse, alleging that she was forced “to assist in the termination of a child’s life on pain of losing her job and potentially her license if she refused,” according to Roger Severino, who served as the director of the Office of Civil Rights at the United States Department of Health and Human Services from 2017 to 2021.

It was, he wrote, “the most open and shut conscience case in over a decade.” The Trump administration pressed hard, while the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice

quietly, and voluntarily, dismissed the case. No admission of guilt, no injunction, no corrective action, no settlement, no nothing. Worse yet, because the victim has few to no options to sue on her own (due to nuances around private rights of action), the Biden administration is effectively giving UVMMC a full pardon and will continue to give it federal funds, despite it having been found by HHS to have violated the law.

Back to the Commentary. It ends this way:

Finally, I’d like to make an honest suggestion or plea. I think that it would be an incredibly meaningful thing if we could all (pro-life and pro-choice communities alike) stop funneling our money, time and energy into the debate over abortion. Instead, we could leave the decision to have an abortion (or not!) between a woman and her doctor.

So pro-lifers should just concede what has been a bedrock foundational principle for us for 50 years: that it isn’t a decision just between a woman and her doctor. That there is somebody else that we will forever and a day speak up for: the defenseless unborn child.