Our Legislature is considering new laws that will make it official — Vermont approves abortion without any limits. At the same time, Vermont is considering granting the right to vote to non-citizens who reside in Montpelier — compassion arguably misplaced for the non-citizen, while officially turning our backs on unborn human beings, up to the moment of birth. It boggles the mind.
For nearly one-half century, Vermont has ignored the unborn. Sadly, the Legislature is now proposing an amendment to the Vermont Constitution (Proposal 5) and a statute (H.57), each of which would create an unrestricted legal right to abortion under Vermont law up to the moment of birth. While, if passed, the proposed constitutional amendment would eventually go before voters in 2022 for approval or rejection, the statutory right to abortion could become the official policy of the state of Vermont this year.
It seems both the proposed statute and the constitutional amendment are completely unnecessary. Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, Vermont could have imposed at least some limits on the right to kill the unborn, like restrictions on late-term abortions or requiring parental notification, but Vermont has steadfastly refused to do so. Now Vermont wants to go beyond merely ignoring the issue officially. Vermont legislators seemingly want an affirmative statement, in our law books and in our Constitution: “The human being in the womb is not worthy of any consideration up to the moment of birth.” Is this what Vermont wants and needs?
What a legacy for this Legislature. Who is clamoring for such an official policy? This effort to bless abortion seems a product of some fear that Roe v. Wade will be overturned by a newly configured U.S. Supreme Court. If Roe were overturned, Vermont would have no abortion restrictions; that is, even if the court completely invalidated Roe v. Wade tomorrow, Vermont would still be without any restrictions on abortion. In other words, the proposals seem legally without impact.
What is the point of this double-barreled effort to write abortion rights into Vermont law when abortion is currently unrestricted here and would still be even if Roe were overturned? What is gained by these proposals except some cheap political points? There seems to be no significant opposition to these efforts by our elected officials.
I am not so sure that the average citizen agrees, however. In any case, as abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass said, “God plus one is a majority.” At a recent public hearing, it seemed the vast majority present opposed the pro-abortion efforts. Perhaps telling, those who attended in-favor seemed mostly adorned with “I stand with Planned Parenthood” T-shirts and buttons. What influence does Planned Parenthood have on our Legislature and the very lopsided support for the pro-abortion edicts? A legislator told me that late-term abortions are rare in Vermont and the proposals are merely codification of the status quo. Then, why the legislation?
Rare or not, all abortion is simply wrong. Unjustified killing should never be officially sanctioned by Vermont, even if it never occurs. These laws sanction abortion. As Mother Teresa said, “(T])e greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.” And as Pope John Paul II said, “Laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion ... are in complete opposition to the inviolate right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law.”
All Vermonters should watch the first 15 minutes of a new movie, “Unplanned,” where the movie shows an ultrasound image of an abortion of a 13-week innocent life; gruesome and very sad. Instead of Prop 5 and H.57, Vermont should consider proposals to protect all innocent human life and help encourage expectant mothers to give birth, and not create policy which seems to promote abortion in our state.
I pray that Vermonters will contact their legislators and voice opposition to these anti-life proposals. An enterprising reporter should consider avoiding the Vermont group-think Planned Parenthood Kool-Aid and interview Kathleen Lynch, an RN at the UVM Medical Center, who has testified twice in opposition to these measures. In her public written statement, available on the Legislature’s website, Lynch laments: “(A)bortion cases cause strain on the daily schedule, from preop to OR to recovery room staff.”
Tom Kelly lives in Barre.