Norm Vandal: Should Article 22 be included on the House Health Care Committee? There is no way.

This comment is from Roxbury resident Norm Vandal.

Voters in the city of Northfield, a place that votes for politicians more like the state of Mississippi than a small Vermont town, surprisingly voted almost three to one in support of Article 22, an amendment to the Vermont constitution that guarantees women the right to reproductive health care, yet, unsurprisingly, they elected two right-wing Republicans to the Vermont House by a combined 70 percent vote, one of whom is Anne Donahue.

Think about this: 75% of voters wanted to secure women’s rights, but then 70% voted to re-elect two of the same people who voted against the amendment and one who personally fought the hardest statewide to take away these rights. They elected Anne Donahue once again.

Representative Anne Donahue, along with 85 percent of House Republicans, voted not only against the amendment, but actually voted to deny voters the ability to vote on the constitutional amendment. Anne you’ve been on the House Health Care Committee for a long time, also recently as Vice Chair, but here you voted to deny women health care?

That’s not the only reason why she shouldn’t be reappointed in committee. Anne served as the principal spokesperson for Vermonters for Good Government, the lead organization opposed to the amendment. So, not only did she vote against women’s healthcare, but she campaigned and proselytized against it, giving speeches, appearing in the media, and helping write pamphlets that were distributed to churches throughout Vermont, using her title of “Representative” to give it credibility.

Anne has been on the radio, in newspapers, on the web. You have been asked to speak and debate by various people and right-to-life groups. You wrote letters and comments. There’s no question that Anne Donahue is quite literally the Vermont face of the anti-abortion movement while advocating for the removal of women’s health care rights.

On the Vermonters for Good Government website, Anne provides a “personal legal opinion” on the amendment’s insinuated failures, albeit an unqualified one that a plethora of qualified constitutional scholars disagree with.

Two of her main points are truly defamatory and demeaning to the healthcare industry at large in Vermont, and that is the most important reason she shouldn’t be named.

When he insinuates that the amendment will increase late-term abortions (the Vermont Medical Society testified that they aren’t even performed in Vermont), he really points the finger at health care institutions, saying they will willingly step forward to perform these abortions.

He does the same with his claim that the healthcare industry will readily force professionals and workers to perform abortions when they are morally opposed to doing so.

Both of these statements are completely baseless and uninformative, they are just conjecture, but they continue to disparage healthcare in Vermont. Should he be on the health committee?

If Article 22 is to be challenged in court, Vermonters for Good Government is likely to lead that effort, and Rep. Anne Donahue will be one of the people at the helm. Given this strong possibility, should you serve on the House Health Care Committee? For real? Fighting against women’s healthcare?

To name Rep. Anne Donahue to the committee would be a travesty, and I urge the Speaker of the Vermont House to act responsibly and in the best interests of women across the state. To name her would be a slap in the face to the overwhelming majority of Vermonters, 76%, who voted to enshrine women’s rights to reproductive health care in the state constitution.

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Tags: Article 22, Norm Vandal, Northfield, Rep. Anne Donahue, vermonters for good governance

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