Abortion-Plus? Proposed Constitutional Amendment in Vermont Would Create ‘Reproductive Autonomy’ Right

Vermont’s proposed amendment to the state constitution would give abortion more permanent legal protection than anywhere else in the United States.

The question is: How much more might it do?

“Under this, if it’s passed I have no idea how we would protect an unborn child from anything,” said Mary Beerworth, executive director of the Vermont Right to Life Committee, in a telephone interview with the Register.

By that she means experiments on unborn babies. But she and other opponents also wonder what it might mean for gender-questioning adolescents and health care workers who are repulsed by abortion.

The proposed amendment doesn’t mention any of those things, however. Supporters say it would simply keep Vermont’s current level of protection of abortion and contraception through state statute and make it more permanent through the state constitution, which requires a lengthy and difficult process to amend.

“The passage of this amendment to our state constitution will guarantee a liberty that we already possess. … Now is the time to affirm the liberty to make our own decisions about our own lives, without future politicians or others interfering,” said Bruce Lee-Clark, a retired United Methodist pastor and a legal services attorney who lives in Bennington, during a public hearing before a legislative committee Jan. 26.

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