Testimony

“People on both sides of the debate over abortion know that “reproductive autonomy” is publicly understood to be a way of referring to an unlimited abortion license, that is, elective abortion permitted through the entire nine months of gestation and pregnancy up to and including the process of birth.”

Robert P. George, Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University


“Based on my legal analysis, I urge you to oppose [Prop] Five.  Its language is so vague that it will allow judges to interpret an all-encompassing and extreme result – one not mentioned anywhere in the text of the constitutional amendment on which the people will be voting.”

“Open-ended language makes it difficult for Vermonters to truly know what they are voting for.  Such language creates ambiguities that allow judges to insert their own policy preferences that may or may not align with the voters’ intent.  Therefore, clear and concise language is absolutely crucial to an amendment in keeping with the will of the people.  It is much harder for judges to insert their personal opinions if ruling on clear and concise language.”

“[Prop] 5’s ambiguous language regarding ‘personal reproductive autonomy’ could have  far-reaching implications that voters cannot imagine,  including protection of pimps, prostitution, and abortion with no limits up until birth all of these a judge could justify as ‘personal reproductive autonomy.’  If any of these interpretations are instituted, it would have devastating impact on Vermont’s most vulnerable.” 

“The people of Vermont deserve to know the laws that govern them.  When the legislature intentionally puts ambiguous language on the ballot in order for judges to achieve their ultimate policy goals, the people are left without a voice.”

Katherine Beck Johnson, Esq., Family Research Council


“This proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution lacks clarity and definition – both of which are essential components of ensuring informed voting.  [Prop] 5 places the citizens of Vermont in the position of voting for an amendment that will be left up to judicial interpretation.  Amending the Vermont Constitution with this proposal prevents Vermonters from adapting legislation to keep up with the cultural views and scientific practices of the day.  This proposal takes away the voice of the Vermonters.  The people of Vermont deserve to know what they are voting for and to have a voice in the future of their state government. 

“As such, I urge you to reject [Prop] 5.  The lack of clarity and definition in [Prop] 5 leaves the words ‘personal reproductive autonomy’ open to interpretation.  Taken broadly, these words can encompass…polygamy, pedophilia, child pornography, rape, infanticide, abortion through nine months by minors without parental notification, human trafficking, and prostitution.  It is the duty of the legislative body to write proposals in a way that does not force the people of Vermont to trust that a judge agrees with the people’s intended interpretation of ‘personal reproductive autonomy.”

“The ambiguity of [Prop] 5 places Vermonters in the unfair position of not knowing what they are voting for.  It removes the ability of future generations of Vermonters to have a voice in the state’s policies on reproductive autonomy, and it places the decision to protect the vulnerable solely in the hands of judges. 

“[Prop] 5 is a shirking of the legislature’s responsibility, and it will have tragic consequences for the citizens of Vermont.  I urge you to reject [Prop] 5.”

Mary Szoch, Director of the Center for Life and Human Dignity, Family Research Council

 

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