Carol Kauffman and Ian Buchanan
Article 22 proponents naively say something ‘will never’ happen
To the Editor:
If outspoken proponents of Prop 5/Article 22 are right, it will be the first constitutional amendment that will actually take away Vermonter’s individual rights by removing the opportunity for the legislature to represent the will of the people and instead give all power to unelected medical organizations and judges.
State Rep. Dr. George Till, division chief of general OB/GYN at the University of Vermont Medical Center, wrote in an op-ed, “Perhaps the most common and disturbing piece of misinformation being circulated surrounding Article 22 is the idea that it will remove all restrictions on abortion and enshrine elective pregnancy termination up to the time of birth.”
Yet, in 2019, Till joined his allies in defeating every proposed amendment to Act 47 that might have imposed guardrails to prevent late-term abortions, including exceptions related to the viability of the fetus, amendments related to conscience and parental rights, a ban on partial-birth abortion, and providing medical help to abortion survivors. Elective pregnancy termination up to the time of birth is very much on the table in Article 22 because Till refused to take it off.
Dr. Lauren MacAfee, OB/GYN at the University of Vermont Medical Center, said in an interview on Vermont Public Radio, “The goal of Article 22 is to really enshrine into our Constitution what current practice is happening now and to avoid some of the whims of the legislative sessions. At this time in Vermont, there are no abortions that are taking place in the third trimester. And that practice won’t change with Article 22 if it were to pass.”
MacAfee should know well that policies change and trends shift. For example, on Jan. 26, 2018, the University of Vermont Medical Center announced it would begin offering elective abortion procedures, ending a 45-year-old policy.
There are no prohibitions against third-trimester abortion in Article 22 nor mandates for future medical ethics boards. To suggest, as Till and MacAfee do, that something that is constitutionally protected will “never happen” is naive at best and dangerously misleading at worst.
Article 22 proponents have intentionally proposed a vague state constitutional amendment while assuring voters of its intent.
(Carol Kauffman is associated with the Vermont Family Alliance.)
Support for Liam Madden for U.S. House of Representatives
To the Editor:
Our system of governance was founded on compromise; a bridging between parties for the greater good. Yet, today, we often elect representatives from both sides of the aisle who are less likely to compromise than ever. As recent decades have demonstrated, until this bridge is rebuilt, it is unlikely that we’ll see long-term progress on many issues crucial to our nation.
As voters, we need to recognize our contribution to this reality. Few issues are binary today; we need to stop treating them as such. We need to think more deeply about the repercussions of electing polarizing candidates who represent the “far” from either side. Uncompromising ideals are dangerous and limiting in a diverse and large democracy.
The difference between the successful progressive movement of the early 20th century and today’s movements is that the former bridged party lines while today’s divide. Progress towards the greater good requires embracing unifying common goals and values.
In this vein, consider voting for Liam Madden for U.S. House. While running as a Republican, he is self-funded and has declined party endorsement. He is an independent thinker with strong values who doesn’t firmly align with either party. Even if you find you don’t agree with him on every topic, rest assured that he will work to encourage both parties to see that the only path forward to progress requires compromise and systemic change.