Dottye Ricks: Reject the scam, misinformation, and downright crap

This comment is from Dottye Ricks of Barre Town, a Reproductive Liberty Amendment liaison for the League of Women Voters, of which she has been a member for more than 30 years. She is a retired public school and college teacher, elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Barre, and longtime member of the Community Harvest of Central Vermont gleaning service group.

In this age of fake news and alternative truths, a deluge of misleading Prop 5/Article 22 propaganda has appeared in flyers, mailings, and newspapers. These are attempts to move voters against this vital measure. We need to recognize and dismiss these false claims, understand how we’re being played, and see what Prop 5 is really accomplishing.

1. misinformation. The false rhetoric is led by the phrase “late abortions”. This phrase is used to scare people and to discredit Prop 5.

Still, late-stage abortions are rarely performed in Vermont and only in certain circumstances deemed medically necessary. The vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester, not the late months. Subsequent interventions are subject to AMA standards and, more importantly, ethical criteria, and are mainly performed only in emergency situations. Nothing in Prop 5 will change these reasonable and thoughtful parameters or improve access to late abortion.

This claim is meant to scare voters about what Prop 5 really achieves – reproductive autonomy. Reject these tactics and endorse Prop 5 as a guarantee of reproductive independence.

2. illusion. Pillar 5/Article 22 is attacked as being too vague, suggesting that it is somehow flawed. Vermont lawmakers worked over four years to draft the amendment to ensure it would include all Vermonters and their reproductive needs.

Pillar 5 in our constitution ensures that human reproductive autonomy is the focus of our lives and must not be attacked by the state. Under Prop 5, our state would not have the legal power to compel anyone to use or not use birth control; having a vasectomy or an abortion, nor could it prevent a person from doing so.

Essentially, Prop 5 language, broadly speaking, keeps the state’s nose off our most private reproductive choices, whatever they may be. Instead, the state must assure all of us the dignity to make these decisions – without state interference – regardless of our gender, racial or sexual identity, or economic status.

By twisting the words of Prop 5, the current propaganda cites crazy examples of additional situations that the language could potentially allow for, in turn misleading what Prop 5 truly ensures – reproductive independence. Reject these attempts to deceive you. Be offended by such blatant scaremongering tactics. Support Prop 5 instead, a measure that only benefits Vermonters.

3. illusion. The opposition insists Prop 5 is unnecessary. Yes, Vermont law currently protects reproductive rights. But laws are easier to overturn than constitutional amendments. In particular, with Article 22 of our Constitution, it becomes more difficult to make or manipulate laws to restrict access to personal medical reproductive options, including abortion.

Attempts to restrict access through state-level legislation can be dismissed as unconstitutional. This limits anyone’s ability to impose their will on the rest of us and protects healthy and ethical reproductive rights for all Vermont residents.

Take this argument for what it is: an attempt to make you think you’re just as protected without Prop 5 as you are with it. Ignore this argument and the fallacy behind it. Protect Vermonters by voting Prop 5/Article 22.

4. misinformation. Claims that our taxes would increase to pay for Prop 5 are false. There are no tax obligations associated with Prop 5. It merely guarantees a Vermonter’s right to make medical decisions about reproduction. Consequently, we must refuse to be fooled by this false and misleading information about taxes. Instead, choose to change our constitution by voting yes to Prop 5.

5. Nonsense. Perhaps the most ridiculous claim in the propaganda is that Article 22 will force medical professionals to perform late-stage abortions and use unethical practices on children. This only goes to show the twisted imagination that fuels these claims, the lengths propagandists will go to to feed Vermonters nonsense, and how uninformed and gullible some people believe the Vermont electorate to be.

Prop 5 doesn’t force anyone to do anything. It protects by enshrining in the constitution laws affirming the right to reproductive independence and by preventing the state from interfering in the very personal reproductive decisions of its citizens.

It is absolutely critical that we, as intelligent and informed Vermonters, understand this outrageous and dangerous propaganda for what it is: bullshit! Let’s all be repelled by the absurdity and unequivocally vote “yes” for Prop 5.

Supporting Point 5: “That a person’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the freedom and dignity to determine one’s own course in life and shall not be denied or violated except as justified by overriding State interests consistent with be achieved by the least restrictive means.”

Thank goodness Vermonters can read! Be thoughtful, be informed, be knowledgeable. Reject misinformation, fraud and mumbo-jumbo. See Prop 5 for what it really does: It ensures reproductive autonomy. Vote for Prop 5/Article 22 on November 8th.

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Tags: scam, Dottye Ricks, bullshit, misinformation, Prop 5/Article 22

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