Proposal 5: What Happened?

By Mary Hahn Beerworth, Executive Director, Vermont Right to Life

Despite a statewide effort to expose the truth about Planned Parenthood’s push to “enshrine” abortion into the Vermont Constitution, the vote passed in Vermont by a wide and disheartening margin.

Planned Parenthood used massive financial resources to launch a misleading advertising campaign on all Vermont airwaves. Voters were inundated with false messaging that successfully managed to hoodwink Vermonters into believing that they must support passage of Proposal 5 or abortions would be banned. 

Planned Parenthood even suggested that abortions would not be allowed in cases involving the life of the mother, ectopic pregnancies and most ludicrous of all, that somehow miscarriages would be suspect. 

Total lies.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, abortion proponents capitalized on that public fear of losing the right to abortion entirely. Proponents also neatly side-stepped the fact that abortion is legal in Vermont and has been since 1972.

The amendment is entirely unnecessary and will lead to a host of problems that exploit young girls and women and further endanger unborn babies who will be aborted up to the moment of birth.

Sadly, the November 8, 2022 vote on Proposal 5 was the very first time Vermonters have voted directly on abortion. The support for unlimited, unregulated abortion was overwhelming – 77% to 23%, a three to one margin.

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the state of Vermont (performing 90% of all abortions) and passage of the amendment now permanently shields their abortion business from any oversight or state limitations at any time throughout all nine months of pregnancy.  Michigan and California passed similar amendments.

Abortion supporters, like Planned Parenthood, not only spent copious amounts of money, their strategy also included a refusal to participate in debates or forums. A strategy of “the less the voters know the better” ultimately succeeded.

On the other hand, opponents of Prop 5 were fully prepared to examine the amendment in depth for greater public understanding and anticipated being involved in debates and public forums. But debates never materialized as proponents declined to participate in public discussion. Again, a strategy that left Vermonters with only a one-sided view of the proposed amendment’

The Vermont media coverage was unfailingly biased and unbalanced adding to voter confusion. Most local news coverage only included proponents of the amendment and often included abortionist, Lauren MacAfee, at the University of Vermont Medical Center as a source of “neutral” information.  Not a single media outlet hosted a debate or forum from WCAX, WPTZ, ABC 22 to Vermont Public to online news outlets like Vtdigger and Seven Days.

Nothing.

A question of amending the Vermont State Constitution, adding a new article to Chapter 1 for the first time since 1786, and not a single forum or debate and only promotional media coverage.

Disgraceful.

The Vermont Right to Life Committee is disappointed with the vote total and with this loss. However, pro-lifers can expect that our efforts to inform Vermonters about life in the womb and alternatives to abortion will continue undeterred and unabated.

What does the future hold?

VRLC will keep the historical record of how this all played out including the transcribed testimony of those who pushed to add abortion throughout pregnancy to our founding document. The ink has barely dried on the legislative apology for our state’s role in the eugenics policy of over 100 years ago. Someday in the not-too-distant future there will be another apology demanded for what has happened here to our most innocent and vulnerable unborn children. VRLC is prepared for that day of reckoning and will have, at the ready, the names of those from all political parties who will be held accountable.

VRLC will continue to be a pro-life presence inside the State House in order to keep tabs on the next assault on life, on Vermont families and their minor children, and to inform pro-life supporters.  One newly re-elected Representative, Emily Mulvaney-Stanak has promised to re-introduce legislation to shut down our friends who provide pregnancy resources.  We cannot allow that to happen without resistance. 

VRLC staff and volunteers will also be working with a force of young people and other newly discovered friends of life that we met on our journey across the state to inform Vermonters about the reality of abortion and the dangers of Proposal 5.  It is important to note that over 64,000 Vermonters rejected Proposal 5 and that number includes some who are brand new to the cause of life itself. Many of the newcomers are energized and ready to join the cause to save innocent lives and we welcome them aboard!

VRLC intends to move forward and to continue to find new ways to educate and expand our reach so that, armed with information, more and more mothers will choose life for their babies!