Margaret Hanni: Don’t say you support women and then deny them control of their bodies

This commentary was written by Margaret Hanni of Royalton.

I must ask seriously: does anyone honestly believe that a woman who has carried a fetus to the theoretical point of viability would “choose” to end that pregnancy unless there were a serious, probably life-threatening situation for the fetus or the mother or both? It is literally unthinkable, and it does not happen.

This is an utterly fallacious “situation,” designed to mislead the public in the most callous, incendiary and dishonest fashion, to believe that full-term babies will be aborted (killed) by frivolous mothers who will be able to choose this “procedure” if Vermont voters affirm the right to reproductive autonomy at the ballot box this November.  

Tragically, women give birth to babies who are very premature or have health problems that are so serious the baby cannot survive. These are deliveries, not abortions. The term “late-term abortion” has no medical meaning; it is a term made up by anti-choice male legislators to scare and disgust the public. 

I am disgusted by the prevalence of letters to editors, fliers sent to voters and other campaign materials that purport to support women, but whose arguments debase and demean women by making up and disseminating these insulting falsehoods about the alleged possible behavior of pregnant women. It is time to call these people out for their dangerous lies. 

If opponents of the reproductive autonomy amendment, known as Article 22 or Proposal 5, can only come up with these pernicious scare tactics to present their views to the public, their duplicity and real agenda — to deny women control of their bodies and lives — need to be unmasked.  

Women deserve autonomy over their own bodies, period. The state has no proper role to play in dictating or even mediating decisions such as these, except to ensure that all procedures carried out in the state adhere to the highest medical standards of care, for the safety of all. 

If you oppose this amendment, then by all means, vote your preference. State your reasons for that in plain and honest terms. But, please, do not insult women by pretending that you support and care about their rights as you attempt to deny them control over their own bodies and cast doubt on their motivations when they are faced with one of the most difficult decisions a woman ever encounters.

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