Melissa Ohden: Article 22 would make Vermont a late-term abortion destination


This commentary was written by Melissa Ohden, MSW, who is the founder and CEO of The Abortion Survivors Network. Ohden lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

As the survivor of a failed late-term, saline infusion abortion at 31 weeks of gestation (that’s nearly eight months along) it makes me physically ill that Vermont could become an abortion tourism destination for such procedures should the abortion amendment known as Article 22 or Proposal 5 pass this November.

The proposed amendment 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.

This is not where most Vermonters, even those who consider themselves pro-choice, are when it comes to abortion policy. In two recent polls, one national and one focused on California voters, just 10 and 13 percent of people, respectively, were OK with unrestricted abortion up until the point of birth. Roughly 90% of humans agree, including the authors of Roe v. Wade, that some restrictions on abortion should exist at some point, at least after the unborn child is viable outside the womb.

But this kind of common sense and compassionate regulation would be unconstitutional in Vermont should this amendment pass, and, as such, people from around the country would flock here to get and to perform such procedures free from legal interference or punishment. This is not speculative on my part; it is by design as admitted to by supporters of the amendment.

In a June 23 story by WCAX, “Will Vermont become abortion haven post Roe v. Wade,” the reporter asked Professor Jared Carter of Vermont Law School, “Do you anticipate there will be an uptick in abortion circumvention tourism?” Carter answered, “I think that’s likely here in Vermont, particularly because New Hampshire, a bordering state, recently passed restrictions on abortion after 24 weeks.”

Twenty-four weeks is six months along, and the New Hampshire laws Carter refers to do, in fact, allow for abortion after 24 weeks when a mother’s life or health is at risk or when a fatal fetal anomaly “incompatible with life” exists, meaning the infant won’t survive outside the womb.

So, what the law professor is saying is, yes, people will be traveling to Vermont to get abortions in the third trimester after the baby is viable and there are no health issues in play for either the baby or the mother because this will be perhaps the only place in America where such a radically horrific policy is allowed.

A May 5 article in VTDigger cited Lauren MacAfee, an OB-GYN with the University of Vermont Medical Center, who said she also expects to see a rise in out-of-state patients, a prediction echoed in the article by Lucy Leriche of Planned parenthood.

More than just expecting abortion tourists to show up, the current Democratic candidate for governor is campaigning on a proposal to use Vermont taxpayer funds to help cover the cost of out-of-state abortion seekers. Late-term abortion tourism is not just an unfortunate byproduct of this proposed amendment, it’s part of the plan.

I was a perfectly healthy developing baby in the womb of a perfectly healthy young mother. My biological mother, over seven months along in her pregnancy, was pressured by her own mother — a nurse, no less — to abort the pregnancy. The method they chose for doing so was a toxic saline injection into the amnionic fluid surrounding me. This toxic salt solution was intended to scald me to death from the outside in. After five days of floating in that toxic salt solution, the doctors induced labor. I was supposed to be born dead, but I miraculously survived. Countless others like me don’t.

Please don’t let Vermont be the place that endorses, celebrates, subsidizes and protects late-term abortion up to the point of birth. Being pro-choice does not mean you have to sign on to this. This amendment goes way too far. Please vote no, either on the ballot you get in the mail or when you go to the polls on Nov. 8.

Did you know VTDigger is a nonprofit?

Our journalism is made possible by member donations. If you value what we do, please contribute and help keep this vital resource accessible to all.

Filed under:

commentary

Tags: abortion, abortion amendment, Article 22, prop 5, Prop 5/Article 22, Proposal 5, Proposal 5/Article 22

commentary

About Commentaries

VTDigger.org publishes 12 to 18 commentaries a week from a broad range of community sources. All commentaries must include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and a brief biography, including affiliations with political parties, lobbying or special interest groups. Authors are limited to one commentary published per month from February through May; the rest of the year, the limit is two per month, space permitting. The minimum length is 400 words, and the maximum is 850 words. We require commenters to cite sources for quotations and on a case-by-case basis we ask writers to back up assertions. We do not have the resources to fact check commentaries and reserve the right to reject opinions for matters of taste and inaccuracy. We do not publish comments that are endorsements of political candidates. Commentaries are voices from the community and do not represent VTDigger in any way. Please send your commentary to Tom Kearney, [email protected]